Well. I'm 30. 

It doesn't feel all that different.

I spent the better part of last week in my happy place - Miami - and because of logistics and schedules we all ended up flying home yesterday. I woke up in Florida and went to bed in New York. Pretty appropriate for the year that lies ahead... and my life in general, come to think of it.

We celebrated at Seaspice (a must in my book) on Saturday night with my mom's two best friends, so it felt just a little bit like she was there.

My 30th started off yesterday with the most delicious breakfast. My dad and I are early birds and he suggested we sneak away, just the two of us, and it was the perfect way to ring in January 25. Soho Beach House on Collins serves a heavenly AM buffet, BTW.

After that we were off to the airport. We had reservations for a "fancy" dinner downtown for dinner, but I decided that since we'd had such an elaborate, indulgent meal that night before that we should skip it and head to our favorite casual neighborhood joint. My dad brought a big Funfetti cake, I ate my favorite cashew kale salad and felt grateful for the love surrounding me.

All day long I thought of my mom. She is omnipresent on my mind every moment of every day, but I was bracing myself for the sudden realization that this was happening; I was turning 30 without her. She always made our birthdays so big, so happy, so special that I knew I'd never enjoy mine quiet the same again.

That "hit me like a ton of bricks" moment happened when we got back to our apartment and I checked the mailbox. There was a small stack of birthday cards waiting for me. I opened them all and suddenly felt empty inside. I'll never get a birthday card from my mom again. She was sick on my birthday last year but still signed all of my cards from herself and my dad. I found those recently and vowed to save them for the rest of my life. I stepped into the hallway with the cards I got yesterday, broke down, and threw all of them away in the recycling bin. It was too hard to look at them any longer knowing none of them were from my mom. Later on I felt guilty about disposing of the wishes so quickly, like I was doing a disservice to those who love me by not saving the cards, but I also realize that kind of guilt is somewhat ridiculous.

Every day I can't believe she's gone, but it stings significantly more when she misses a milestone like this.

In her absence, I am comforted when we do and talk about things she would have loved. She is all around us, but oh what I wouldn't give to have her right here.

I told everyone "NO GIFTS" this year (although no one listened). I treated myself to a few things - a Misfit Shine to hold me accountable to some new health and fitness goals I have in 2015 (more on this soon) and a pair of Gorjana earrings that make me feel infinitely cooler than I actually am. (I have loved Gorjana for years - I still own a necklace from their first collection. The founder is a Kappa! I have a little more birthday money to spend and my eye is on these rings.)

Overall, it was a lovely day and I am simultaneously sad and relieved that it's over.

Once upon a time, there were a lot of things I wanted to be when I was 30: a wife, a size 2, a published author. Now I'm 30 and there is only one thing I want and need to be, and that's healthy.

Anything else is just icing on the birthday cake.

P.S. My dress is Forever 21 - it's a good copy of this Bailey 44 dress I lusted after (which is now on sale). My necklace is old ABS and my shoes are the Stuart Weitzman "Naked" - a shorter version of the uber popular "Nudist." I love them. A serious investment but worth every penny.

P.P.S Am linking up with Erin for her Weekend Snapshots link-up. Thanks for hosting!

first image all others via my/my sister's iPhones