Happy Monday! I know most people hate Mondays but today is kinda of a special day.
Today is my birthday.
Today I’m 40!
What? How can it be my 40th birthday? I know 40 isn’t old BUT it’s a lot older than I feel. I still feel like I’m 18 or 21.
Anyway, I really love my birthday and birthdays in general so I thought it would be fun to share 40 things about me. Some of them are random, some are personal and some you probably already know. Okay, here goes….
1. On May 15th 1977 I was born. I came really, really early. I guess I thought I was missing a big party because I decided to come 3 months early. I weighed 2 pounds when I was born and was in the hospital for 3 months. My parents believe I was a miracle.
2. When I was little I LOVED rollerskating around the neighborhood with my friends and I wanted to marry Michael Jackson. It was the 80s.
3. I had 27 Barbies and I wanted blond hair just like them. I used to dump chlorinated water on my head from our pool to get my hair blonde.
4. One time my mom asked me why I didn’t want black hair. I said, “Only witches have black hair.” My mom also had black hair…
5. I have a super close relationship with both my parents. I’m like my dad in some ways and my mom in others. I’ve shared how much they mean to me here on the blog, I wrote this for my dad and this for my mom.
6. My love of antiques, thrift stores and old homes is totally my mother. She used to take me antiquing in her little red car and we’d get lost and go on “joy rides” ’til we found our way back. It was way way before GPS.
7. My dad taught me how to golf and a ride my bike. My first bike was a strawberry shortcake bike and it had a hand brake.
8. When I was little I dreamed of becoming an actress. I have fond memories of all my high school plays and musicals. When I played Frenchie a little girl asked me for my autograph. I went to Denny’s after the show with pink hair.
9. I still highly regard some of my middle school & high school teachers for their mentorship. Ms. Finneran, my 8th grade English teacher, who introduced me to Jane Austen and called me DAaaanielle. Mr. Lague my high school drama and choral teacher. All the plays and musical we did together live in my heart and I still have so many wonderful memories of school trips to see Broadway shows and fun chorus trips to Disney and Toronto. Mr. Becker, my 9th grade and 12th grade English teacher, you made me a better writer.
10. I majored in Theatre Arts and minored in English at Mount Holyoke College. Mount Holyoke is the oldest women’s university in the country. I had some amazing teachers there. I even took a Master Class with Vanessa Redgrave.
11. I’m a morning person. My brain gets foggy and stops working after 9pm. I often fall asleep while we’re watching TV at night.
12. I LOVE pizza and ice cream. My favorite pizzas are Pizzaria Regina in Boston, Caffe Tosca in Hingham (we usually go each year for my birthday) and Riva Pizza in Scituate. My favorite ice cream is Nona’s Homemade in Scituate Harbor.
13. I grew up in a restaurant. My parents owned Baldwin’s in Woburn for 11 years. Helping them in our family business was the best education. I learned so much about people, my parents, myself and what it means to build your dream from nothing. Restaurant work is the hardest work around. My family worked very long hours and my dad suffered a stroke from stress. We lost our home, but we still had each other. I’m very proud of the success my parents had running a business and they created such an amazing environment with regulars of the restaurant, many of them even attended my wedding in England.
14. I always dreamed of visiting England. Perhaps it was all the Jane Austen novels, but I knew from a very early age I wanted to live there. I did my Junior Year Abroad at the University of Bristol. My dad brought me over.
15. I hated England at first. I wanted to come home. I spent £20 crying in a red phone booth about how much I hated it and how unfair a professor was being.
16. I ended up loving Bristol and started dating Luke. I ended up changing my flight so I could spend more time with him.
17. It sounds funny but I knew I was going to marry him. I told him “I love you” first.
18. We were apart for a year while I finished my degree at Mount Holyoke. It was the hardest year of my life.
19. I returned to England and did my Masters in Film and Television Production and lived with four guys, Luke was one of them. I ended up marrying Luke and staying in England for 5 years. In London I worked in TV development at TWI and loved it. One highlight was working on the British Style Awards. I brought Kim Cattral water when she was still on Sex and The City.
20. I thought I would always live in England and I thought we’d have children with English accents but that wasn’t to be. We came to visit my parents in Scituate and Luke caught a striped bass which made us wonder why we weren’t living by the sea and why were living in the city.
21. Once Luke got his green card we quit our jobs and flew to the States. I’m so grateful to my parents we lived with them for a summer while we tried to find our feet here. We only had 10 boxes when we arrived. We have a lot more stuff now (not sure if it is a good or a bad thing).
22. It was always my dream to be a mother. My wish came true when John was born on February 24th 2006. I was looking at baby photos of him the other day and can’t believe how quickly he’s grown. He’s almost my height. He has grown into this wonderful and feeling individual. An amazing artist but also amazing with science, words and math. I wrote him a letter on his 10th birthday, click here.
23. I am very short. I’m 5′ 1/2″. I was this height in 5th grade, one of the tallest girls in my class. I didn’t grow after 5th grade but my mom always reminds me “Good things come in small packages”….
24. I found staying home with a baby very isolating and lonely at first. I had always had a job or a position. I missed the social interaction. My parents used to visit once a week and we’d go for lunch and every Wednesday I’d push John in the stroller for lunch with Luke. The days were long. I’d take John on 3 hour long walks. I used to complain to my dad how long the day was to which he replied, “One day you’ll wish for these days back.” He was right.
25. I love to travel. When traveling, I love immersing myself in other cultures and trying to see as much as possible of the place we’re visiting. We love touring museums and castles. We’ve been lucky enough to visit Spain, Italy, France, St. John and, of course, to England.
26. We still want to take the kids to France. We want to visit our family in Australia.
27. I was lucky enough to do the World’s Longest Yard Sale with GMC and Habitat for Humanity. It was such a rewarding experience to find yard sale stuff and decorate a home with them. I loved seeing so much of the states. I’d love to visit California. I’ve never been. I’d also like to visit Hawaii.
28. I was happy having an only child. We didn’t have Conor until John was nearly 4. Partly because I didn’t realize how wonderful having a sibling is. I’m my mom’s only child so I didn’t know how nice it is to have a playmate. The other reason was I had an emergency c-section with John so pretty much was scared to have another baby. I’m so glad we had Conor. He is so sweet and cheeky and makes me laugh so very much. He currently wants to be a chef.
29. I’m a real animal lover. We have the two best dogs in the whole world. Max and Poppy are both rescue dogs and are the sweetest pets. I’m so glad our boys are growing up with dogs. Poppy is 6 years old and Max is about 9 months. You can read more about Poppy here and Max here. The photo below is when we first adopted him:
He was so tiny then, only 4 pounds. He’s now about 12. They are getting on like a house on fire!
30. Being home with two young children was the catalyst to start my blog – I wanted a creative outlet. Finding Silver Pennies is named after a poetry book my mom gave me when I was younger called Silver Pennies. In the book there was a poem that said you need to a silver penny to get into fairy land. This name has taken on more meaning. Shining up old pieces of furniture or an old house to sparkle light a treasure. I’m so grateful for this blog and for you, dear reader! Your thoughtful comments and emails mean so much.
31. My favorite place to be other than home is the beach. I love the sound of the surf, the smell of the salt air, the feeling of sand between my toes and looking for treasures on the beach with my boys.
32. My favorite month is May because of my birthday and our wedding anniversary. My favorite flower is Lily of the Valley – May’s flower. I carried it in our wedding.
33. I am so grateful and in love with my husband. I love him more today than I did nearly 15 years ago. We married in Cornwall, England. On a very wet day. Everyone kept coming up to tell us was raining riches for us. Luke is the most amazing father and such a supportive and loving husband. Whenever I need his help or guidance he is there, from building for the blog to supporting me at shows or watching the kids when I go to Haven Blog Conference. I truly am lucky to have found someone who celebrates our family and sees his wife as an equal.
34. I believe we’re all creative. As children we would draw, paint, color, play imaginary games and as we grow somehow we lose that side of ourselves. Or perhaps, it gets hidden away. Writing my blog has brought this playful and creative side out in me. Before I started the blog, I hadn’t painted furniture or tried watercolor or used tools. This blog was the catalyst to bring about my creativity. I love the series on the blog Creativity Over Coffee because it’s a way to witness other people’s creative journeys. It’s my hope when reading these or blog posts on crafts or DIY that you are inspired at home to create something or try something new.
35. I love to paint. Painting furniture was my first love, I even wrote a book about it. I still enjoy painting furniture but now I’m also dabbling in watercolor and some acrylic. I never took art in school as I was a theater geek. I couldn’t do both so now I’m taking a few classes trying to learn what I missed. “It’s never to late to teach an old dog new tricks!”
36. I wish had perfect vision, I’m -7 in one eye which is really bad. I can’t even see the alarm clock. Sometimes I have nightmares that I don’t have my glasses or contacts on and I can’t see. I hate those dreams.
37. I practice yoga several times a week. I first did Hatha yoga at college but LOVE hot vinyassa flow. Yoga makes me relax and be in the moment. Everyone is happier in our house when I get to yoga. 🙂 Namaste!
38. My parents and Luke and close friends call me Dani. I like that.
39. It was my dream to live by the sea in and old house. Our home here in Scituate is my dream home and it’s my favorite place to be.
40. I believe a beautiful home is more about the people in it and the memories you make together. Give me some wildflowers in a vase, or some sea shells we found on the shore. I enjoy decorating our home with items and found objects that I have meaning. I hope this is reflected in my blog and design projects.
Thank you all for your lovely comments over the years and thank you for reading 40 things about me! Well done if you made it through the whole list! I’m excited to share my birthday today with you. I’m looking forward to some yoga, a botanical illustration class and pizza with parents, Luke and the kids!
Here’s my favorite quote: