I love having parties.  The planning, the preparation, the FUN.  But even I will admit… it can be a whole lot of work.

That said, what I love even more than throwing a party is vacation.  And I’ve been fortunate enough to have some fabulous vacations.  Put those 2 great tastes together and the DESTINATION PARTY is born.

A few summers ago Charlie and I had our four closest friends over for a little afternoon soirée: André & Molly, Bret & Blondie (not their real names because I don’t want them to be mad at me for revealing their identities).  Nothing fancy, just appetizers and drinky-winkies on the deck.  It was one of those rare, perfect, late August Sundays – warm sunshine with no humidity, blue sky with Ferris Bueller-like clouds, light breeze.  You know, weather so perfect you don’t even know there is weather.

Our little ‘6-pack’ has been together for about 17 years or so.  Charlie and I are in complete agreement that you couldn’t find better people to be friends with and definitely couldn’t find more fun people to spend your perfect Sunday afternoons with.  We all sat on the deck laughing loudly and chatting about important things – books, movies, music, kids, pets & our outlooks on life.  That’s why we love them so much – because they are interesting and fun and even though we may not see eye-to-eye on every issue, we all respect each other.  I could never even imagine disagreeing with any of them over petty issues (religion, politics, etc.).  I like to think that we all accept each other so readily simply because we connect over our similarities and are open enough to value our differences.

While sitting there talking about … whatever… someone (I think it may have been Blondie) brought up the topic of turning the big Four-O.  I can’t speak for the guys, but the girls and I didn’t seem too bothered by it.  We all look fabulous and felt it was reason for celebration.  Then some genius (I think it was Molly) says, “We should go on vacation to celebrate turning 40“.

And with those 9 words an idea was hatched.

An amazing, exciting, sensational idea.

Where would we go?  When?

Right away, everyone seemed in agreement that it should coincide with our January birthdays (4 of the 6 were born in January).  With that settled, Charlie & I and André & Molly recounted how in love we were with Mexico.  We had all been to Mexico (separately) within the past few years and it was fantastic.  We both stayed at all-inclusive Secrets/Excellence resorts and our experiences left us breathless.  Charlie and I fondly recalled our 5 days of pampered heaven, lounging on the beach and sitting at the pool bar where I took the BEST. PICTURE. EVER.


Who puts sunblock on their husband like this?
Then again, why couldn't he do it himself?  
It's like they were put on earth for me to take this picture.

André & Molly had a similar experience at their Secrets/Excellence resort.  And since André knew a travel agent it was decided he would contact her to inquire about all-inclusive, Mexican paradise.

With our travel agent’s advice, we settled on Secrets Maroma in Rivera Maya Mexico.  Over the next 15 months, we all sacrificed and saved to pay for the trip.  Every now and then we met to fantasize about the resort spa and coordinate our wardrobes (something animal print, to welcome the cougar age, was a necessity – at least for us girls).

FINALLY, January 20, 2011 arrived.

Charlie & I woke at 3 am for our very early morning flight to warm sunshine, white sands and clear, turquoise waters.  We quietly snuck out of the house (my father-in-law had agreed to stay with Emma for the next 5 days) and headed out into the FREEZING darkness to drive to Bret & Blondie’s house before picking up André & Molly.  When we arrived at Bret & Blondie’s at 3:40 in the morning, they emerged from the warmth of their home all smiles and wearing sombreros.  Fucking sombreros.  Who couldn’t love them?!?!

With the security check out of the way at Philadelphia International, the 6 of us patiently waited in the terminal for our flight time.  Eventually a US Air employee announced the boarding process was about to begin.  The Type-A personalities (i.e., Charlie & I) stood to hint to the other couples that it is time to go get in line.  At this point Bret rose for his uncomfortable airport terminal seat & said to Blondie, “Sco” to which Blondie, without hesitation, loudly scolded, “Don’t you ‘Sco me.  I’m on vacation!”

The rest of us fell out with laughter.

Let the party begin.


Pumped to go on vacation with our BFFs. 
To be continued…

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