We know how to throw a house party, aka Happy 30th Richard!

Thirty. It’s something I dealt with as a looming shadow the entire time I was twenty-nine. Feeling like “old” was right around the corner. Mourning for the supposedly (although not really for me) care free twenties. Thirty feels like the time you need to get your shit together. There are big life questions that need answers. Or you can attempt to forget, chuck it all, opt out, and ship off like me. 😛 I found that once I turned thirty, the weight lifted and it wasn’t nearly so bad as I had feared. Instead it is an empowering age to be and I absolutely love it.

There are people of all ages in Utila, with plenty right around the thirty mark. One Mr. Richard McKenna in particular was just about to turn 30 and we were determined to celebrate in style. His brother Jamie (who flew in from Australia for the event), his Utila BFF Danielle, and I (all of us 30+) were on it. Rich lamented his upcoming birthday the whole week prior, but we aimed to change his mind about becoming “old”. Come into the light, Rich, because thirty is fuckin’ awesome.

We came up with lots of special touches to make this classier than the typical Utila house party. The plan: catered dinner for our twenty closest mates at 7pm, cocktails at 8pm, more people arrive for music/rum/fun, cake around 10pm followed by tequila shots, then anything goes. We pulled it all together in about 24 hours. I sweet talked Utila Food Company (who were awesome to work with, totally did us a solid by taking on the party at the last minute, and delivered great food!) into bringing the eats. Danielle provided the venue: her beautiful apartment overlooking the ocean. Jamie got some top shelf booze for the VIPs and organized a round of cocktails to be delivered. Danielle and I baked three birthday cakes. I scoured the buy-anything-here stores on the island for decorations. We all spread the word amongst our crew about the big day.

Our big missing piece of the puzzle was a sound system. We wanted something more than a small set of portable speakers, but where to find one? Jamie tried to get one from a local DJ, I checked electronic stores for possible rentals, and a friend tried her local connections too. We all came up empty handed. When Jamie fell ill on the day of the party and was out of commission, we still had nothing and all looked bleak. Until the birthday boy himself dropped by to help with party set up, because he’s that kind of awesome guy. In a bit of a frenzy, I sent him out to pick up ice. In fifteen minutes, he came back not only with an enormous ice chest but a Bose sound system. What?? Yeah, he’s got the connections (he made friends with the local boat captain who took us to Chez Lola and whose family runs the best grocery store on the island… turns out he’s an awesome dude to know) and swooped in to save the day, solving in minutes something we worked on for days. Getting shit done, ’cause that’s what 30-year-olds do. Party, SAVED.

All came together just in time, and our friends began arriving for one smash of a party. All our favorite people came, had an awesome time, and welcomed Rich into his best decade yet.

Birthday boy and the co-hostesses. Or as Danielle put it, “Rich’s rangas”. 😛
That’s about 10lbs of pineapple guacamole. Or as one guest raved, “the most delicious guac babies ever!”
The gang scarfing on tasty curry dinner. A treat from the usual Utila cuisine. Yum!
When you ask people to bring rum to a party on Utila, they don’t disappoint! And only one bottle of Plata too… plus two bottles of top shelf 18yr and 12yr Flora we snuck in there for VIPs.
Rich solving problems like no one’s business. You need a cooler? BAM, done, biggest one on the island!
Knock knock, special delivery. Margaritas anyone?

Taking the edge off. Thirty’s not so bad, huh? 😀
An uninvited guest, above the paper birthday disco ball.
Me and Doug, heart.
Carrot cake, chocolate snickers cake, and vanilla rum cake. Mmm…

Make a wish!
Serving the birthday boy a cake sampler plate. I actually did turn myself into the cake lady of Utila. That night I baked 2, then another 5 over my six weeks on the island.
Roomies, always having fun!
The face of the new PADI-punch!

Live entertainment provided by our musically talented friends.
Two lovely songbirds.
Someone didn’t read the signs not to touch the laptop… but the urge to DJ was too strong.

Rich had to swoop in again to troubleshoot his own party.

The music-killing culprits were quickly forgiven. Until they poured tequila down Rich’s nose when he dozed off at the bitter end!
I heard from guests all night that they were having a fantastic time, and that it was the best house party on the island. Best and most important of all, Rich had fun. All in all, I’m just going to say, damn fine party. 😀
Happy birthday! Welcome to thirty-awesomeness.

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