Columnist Alexis Powers checks out a birthday card.

Courtesy of Jane McCutchen

Deciding to throw myself a birthday party at the Chantilly Tea Room turned out to be an excellent idea. People have been so kind to me since I moved here three years ago that I wanted to show them how much I appreciate each friend’s special meaning to me.

Rather than have a party at my home, which would have been crowded, I talked to Tamara, the owner of Chantilly. After I explained what I wanted, she said they did special events on Sunday so the place would be ours alone. How could I resist?

More than 40 women came for a high tea. Three of my good friends drove down from Albuquerque to join in the festivities. Having the party at a fancy tea house enabled me to wear one of my favorite frocks. Every girl likes to get dressed up once in a while, doesn’t she?

My enthusiasm grew as the time neared. Only a few of the invitees were unable to attend because of prior commitments. By the time Julie, Denise and Liz arrived from Albuquerque Friday evening, my excitement had grown to a preposterous level.

The weekend started Friday night with dinner and conversation at my house. On Saturday we hit the shops. First to Nordstrom Rack where I bought high-heeled shoes to wear Sunday. The “girls” had a ball trying on stuff and checking each outfit.

From there we went to North for lunch so we could continue shopping. Going into Tiffany’s was a highlight, reminding us of when we lived in big cities.

On Saturday night, my brother, Mel, and his wife, Sally, who is more a sister to me than a sister-in-law, took us to Wildflower for dinner. We had a “wild” time, enjoyed the delicious food and conversation. Seeing Mel and Sally always makes me happy.

Sunday morning we had a great breakfast at Torino Café, followed by a chat at my house. Denise and Julie went back to their hotel to dress while Liz and I dressed at home. Driving over to the Chantilly Tea Room we laughed and giggled with expectation.

Several of the guests were seated when we arrived. Seeing my friends all in one place was thrilling. Once everyone arrived, tea was served. The food was presented on three tiered servers, everything fresh and delicious. Each of the guests had their favorites but I think the homemade scones scored the highest rate of approval.

Walking around to each table, I greeted my guests telling them how much their friendship means to me. I was relieved I’d left my heels at home.

My friends Jane and Elaine helped take the gifts to our cars and they followed me home to watch me open the array of colorfully wrapped presents. Not only were the gifts terrific but I was moved to do a rendition of Bobby Darin’s “Mack the Knife” as we cavorted.

Thanks to all my friends, old and new, who helped me celebrate my birthday in style.

Alexis Powers is the author of several books and lives on the northwest side. Email her at or view her website at