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Who Needs Oprah with These Favorite Birthday Things?

It's Memorial Day weekend, which means summer is here! Oprah has already handpicked "Oprah's Favorite Things for Summer" which she gave away on an episode where the female audience shrieked, hugged, cried and freaked out over their loot. (If you want to see the hysteria, check out this clip that The Huffington Post put together.)

What did they get? 
1. A turkey burger recepie
2. A gas grill
3. A swimsuit
4. Makeup
5. A tote bag
6. A GPS navigation system
7. A $200 gift card for Mariott
8. A cookbook
9. Oprah's latest book club pick

Well, they can have it. I'm much happier with my birthday loot, which I received last week. I give you: Charlene The Bon Bon Queen's Favorite Birthday Presents to Kick Off Her Summer:

1. Super sexy black and white plaid Sacha London shoes that I will be wearing with the outfit I've selected for my brother's upcoming wedding (Thanks, Mom!)

2. Renewal of my AAA membership to keep me safe and covered on the road (Thanks, Mom!)

3. A plush pink terry bathrobe that matches my husband's cream one so we can enjoy our morning coffee in style in our breakfast nook (Thanks, mon cheri!). It replaces a ratty "free-gift-with-purchase" one that I've been wearing for the past few years.

4. A year-supply of contact lenses. (Thanks, Dad!) Since my vision is classified as "legally blind" and I'm an avid reader and visual person, the gift of sight is a big one!

5. The cutest little purse-sized card holder with small business card-sized cards called: "My little box of Magic Messages!", 14 tiny juicylucy fairy cards for sending magic, love and light into the world! I love this idea and the cards are too cute for words. They say things like: "a little thank you" and "you radiate beauty" and "you're a star" - I can't wait to sprinkle some fairy love around the world.

6. A hilarious birthday card from my husband that still has me laughing today.

7. A Happiness Spa Treatment package from a friend who is an expert at bringing out the goddess in others (Thank you, Elvira!). I will savor every minute of the pampering.

8. And the most surprising gift of all-kayak lessons from Pascal. Being the sort of girly-girl who grew up walking laps so she wouldn't have to show off her supreme lack of physical coordination in gym class; being the sort of pampered queen who thinks staying at a motel instead of a hotel is "roughing it in the wilderness"; being a fair-skinned, sun-sensitive, mosquito magnet that I am; you might think that I would be less than thrilled with kayak lessons. But I love this gift. Why? Because kayaking is my husband's passion. It has always been "his" thing, his way of escaping from the daily stresses of running (and living!) our business. If he is willing to share his passion with me, if he wants me to be a part of his relaxing escape, then I am honored. I'll probably look like the kayaker in the first photo, but if my husband sees my potential to be the smooth and confident kayaker in the second photo, then that is a gift more valuable than anything Oprah can give away on TV. I promise to let you know how those kayak lessons go...


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