Presence not presents.

FullSizeRender (1) I’ve never been very great when it come’s to making people feel special on their birthday. I usually wait til the last minute to buy them a gift or get a little cupcake for them; hoping my small gesture will suffice.

Yesterday marked 22 years for my dear and best friend Joanna Alvarez. Joanna can be best described as a glowing ray of effortless energy that streams through each and every person she comes into contact with. She embodies the definition of “extrovert”. There is no stone left unturned, no person she wont talk to, no adventure too great. And she just walks through life owning herself, her surroundings, and maybe even owning you! That’s right, she is not afraid to call you out on your shit. Whether you want her to or not, if she feels passionate, there is no stopping her from making you own up to yourself. And that’s what I love about her. She has a way of being so brutally honest and real (with herself and with you) that she makes you want to be as open and free as she. She brings out my adventurous side and pushes me to try things I normally wouldn’t.

So when it came down to her birthday this year, I felt the need to honor it the way she deserves. You see, normally I stress about buying the perfect gift, or planning the perfect adventure..but with Joanna, there is no need to. She is the adventure and the party all in one. And a small gift or gesture is just the icing on the cake. So, I made her a little card. A poetic rendition of how she is the sun and that everything she touches comes to life. It was beautiful, I must say. And it made her so happy! And in that moment I realized that birthdays are about celebrating with people that know you best, people who actually capture what your “birth” means! Not just an excuse to go out and drink beer, but to actually celebrate life!

Well, last night we did both. As you can see, we ordered a beer flight from the Russian River Brewing Company. It was awesome, I tried a lot of beers that I normally wouldn’t.

Kind of like how Joanna get’s me to try a lot of things I normally would shy away from.

What I’m trying to say is that, if you know a person, and you know them well..just spending time with them on their birthday to celebrate their life is enough. A small gift or not, your presence is all that is needed. And with that being said, thank you Joanna. For bringing your beautiful soul into my life, and once again teaching me a life lesson about why you just need to live in the moment and not stress about the small stuff (or gifts)!

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