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On Monday, I turned 30. Gabe had an amazing four-day trip to Napa planned for us, and I had some exciting blog posts in the works. I was going to do a “What to Pack” post, a few “Pinspired Looks”, and a “How to Wine Taste”. But, reader, you won’t be seeing any of those posts. Not from this weekend, at least. Because nothing went according to plan. Everything was unexpected.

Last Thursday, I went to get my hair dyed for the first time. New decade, new look. I was so excited. I had researched stylists and pinned for weeks, and decided on Max at Population SF. I had a photo shoot and dinner with one of my best girl friends in Walnut Creek right after my hair, and Bible study with my husband at seven that evening. It was perfectly planned. Walnut Creek is a 30-minute drive, my hair wouldn’t take very long, and to top it off, it would be professionally styled for the shoot and breeze into Bible study flushed from the excitement of my day.

Instead, I left the salon stunned, sporting a head full of very blond highlights instead of the ombre balayage I had been dreaming of. As I reached my car and typed in the Walnut Creek address, my jaw dropped. The traffic was so bad it would take me well over two hours to get there. I determinedly started crawling through the city to see if it was right, and as the realization hit me that I would really not make WC until 5:30PM or later, I tearfully called my friend who had been dutifully waiting for me and told her we had to cancel, because I couldn’t make it to Walnut Creek without having to turn right back around to get to the city for our study.

When I arrived home, I dumped my pile of unworn fashion shoot clothes on the bed, went to the mirror to try and like my hair, then dissolved into a hysterical mess on the floor before texting friend and fellow blogger Veronica Arrieta (her stuff here. So good!) who was able to talk me down from my pedestal of crazy and convince me to call the salon to set up a “fix it” appointment, which was set for Tuesday. Meaning I had to go through my Napa weekend with crazy blonde hair. I mentally decided to add hats to more of my outfits before requesting to stay in for the night (to which my husband agreed!) and popping the cork on a bottle of red.

Friday we woke up to a sunny sky that was full of promise. We quickly packed for Napa and hugged our dog, Claire, who we were leaving for the first time. (Side note: I’ve had her for just under six years. She was a rescue, and gets scared of strangers easily. Even though she had met her dog walker the week before, I was nervous leaving her. She runs when she gets scared. It hasn’t been a problem, though. I walk her with a choke collar, so she can’t slip out. So, as long as you hold onto the leash, her 9lbs of crazy can’t really go anywhere.)

Napa was gorgeous. We went to Castillo de Amorosa, and took a tour before doing a tasting. As promised, “the reds” were amazing, and since Gabe and I are both red wine drinkers, we were in heaven.

Later that evening, we went to dinner at The Thomas, which was right up our ally with the rustic wood tables, exposed brick walls, and ridiculously amazing food.

We were just finishing our dinner and beginning to think about dessert when my phone buzzed. It was our dog walker, and she had lost Claire. I dissolved into hysterics as I realized how helpless I was, and Gabe quickly took control, getting us out of the restaurant, hotel, and home to San Francisco in the space of two hours. Even so, as we arrived home, our little girl hadn’t been found or seen in the past hour and a half.

I’ve never felt so helpless, so scared, or so desperate. We searched most of the night through fog and cold, and returned home to grab a few hours of sleep completely numb and trying desperately to rise above the fear written plainly in each other’s eyes.

Saturday morning, we crawled out of bed and started the search again. By ten we still hadn’t found her, and decided to head to the print store to make door hangers. My phone rang while we were in the print shop. It was a number I didn’t recognize! I still feel that same relief when I think back on that conversation, when I hear Michelle say, “We found a dog…”

Gabe and I spent the rest of that day at the vet with our little girl and sleeping. She had been hurt; possibly grazed by a car; but thankfully only had bruises and an injured eye (both of which are healing well now!). It was not at all what we had expected for our Saturday, but it was amazing. It’s crazy how quickly your perspective can change, and how little the things like losing an earring, spilling my coffee, and having to re-do my nails three times before Napa suddenly didn’t matter at all. All that mattered when I was sitting with my husband at the tiny café a few blocks from the vet while we waited for Claire’s x-rays to be finished was that we were all safe, and all together.

My birthday turned into a completely different weekend than anticipated. We decided to do a “staycation” on Sunday, and stayed near Ghirardelli at the Argonaut, which was amazing! Gabe even arranged for our dinner to be a VIP experience, and after visiting the Exploratorium (expect a post on what Gabe and I learned about each other there!), wandering through one of my favorite art galleries and eating an absolutely delicious dinner, I entered 30 with a deep gratitude for a husband who loves me and is the best partner a girl could ask for in tragedy and in joy, a profound thankfulness for a God who sustains, provides, and listens, and an excitement for the years of womanhood to come! Unexpected? Definitely. Blessed? Absolutely.

P.S. My hair appointment yesterday turned out AMAZING. Photo's soon!

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