Malia invited us over for a little get together to celebrate her 39th birthday. (Woohoo! Happy Birthday Malia!) A while back, Malia shared that she and her twin sister, Malisa, plan to run the Honolulu Marathon next year, which will fall right on their 40th. So Larisa and I figured we'd kick off the beginning of her training with these cute little marathon runner cookie favors from Hokulani Bakeshop. (If you haven't tried the cookies or cupcakes from this place, you NEED to...immediately. Yum!) Malia reluctantly admits that it took a while to figure out why they all had the number 39 on them. (It's okay Malia. These things come with age.)
The cookies were pretty much the only thing that worked out in the way of birthday plans Larisa and I had for Malia. We thought about putting together a surprise party, which was quickly foiled when we realized she really didn't want one. Then our back up plan to take her on a Kaneohe Starbucks tour with a stop at her fave dim sum place disintegrated upon the news that she would be participating in a holiday potluck at her office building that day. Oh well. An intimate gathering of good friends for dinner and a delicious spread of food prepared by Malia (I need to get that dip recipe) is all the birthday girl wanted, so we granted her wish and had a fun time. We weren't allowed to bring food, so of course, we all came bearing gifts, which included a Starbucks Hannukah Activitiy Menorah that Larisa went back to Schofield to get. You may remember this rare Hawaii find spotted during the Central Oahu coffee crawl. Nevermind that Hannukah was last week. Oh, or that Malia's not Jewish. It was a cool Starbucks gift that she was sure Malia didn't already have.
The bonus to this visit was that we all finally had a chance to see Malia's Starbucks Christmas Tree. Originally Malia was going to create a Starbucks Mug Tree, but unfortunately her poor tree's branches couldn't possibly support the weight of her collection. As cool an idea as it was, I shudder at the thought of the mug tree toppling over at the slightest bump or breath - a true Nightmare Before Christmas. Would her two Starbucks buddies sacrifice a portion of their own collections to help her rebuild? Ehhhhhh.... probably not. (That's friendship for you. What's mine is yours, except for my Starbucks mugs.) No matter. Her mug collection is safely put away in the cubbard, and her Plan B tree with a Starbucks Christmas To Go cup for a topper and the green and blue holiday cup sleeves, gift cards collected over the years (empty of course), and this year's mitten gift card holders as ornaments and even a few REAL Starbucks Christmas ornaments in the mix, it is quite the sight! Hopefully, we'll get Malia back on here to post more about the birth and development of her spectacular Starbucks Christmas tree, but I thought I'd take a moment to at least mention it and share some pictures of her beautiful Christmas creation. I'm so glad that there was at least a little Starbucks involved in Malia's special day this year. I think the only way Larisa and I will be able to work Starbucks into her birthday next year will be by standing at the marathon thirst aid stations holding a couple of lattes instead of Gatorade. Malia, do you want those iced or hot?