“It’s gorgeous here,” I said, gazing out the passenger side window of our car, admiring the tree-lined roadway illuminated by warm sunshine. Our destination was Ridgeland, Mississippi.
I’d been feeling anxious as my 40th birthday approached, and Melanie, my best friend of more than 30 years, suggested a getaway to celebrate the occasion. She had family in Ridgeland who she visited often, and always raved about her time there. When she mentioned the words “Retail Trail,” that was enough for me to agree to a last-minute, girls-only getaway with Melanie, my sister Jasmine and our close friend Jen.
Three new dresses later, I was already feeling good about 40.
We checked in to the lovely Staybridge Suites and plopped our bags down in our rooms. “Alright ladies, are you ready?” Jen asked, with the tone and excitement of a cheerleading coach.
“Ready!” the rest of us replied in unison.
“We will make 40 the best year yet, my dear,” said Jasmine as we grabbed our purses and walked out of our room.
After we downloaded the Visit Ridgeland MS app, we had the Retail Trail at our fingertips and made our way to Olde Towne Ridgeland and Jackson Street Shopping District just down the road from our hotel.
“Lead the way,” Jasmine said to me as we walked in. I decided some new clothes were in order, so we wandered over to CoatTails. Three new dresses later, I was already feeling good about 40.
Wanting to add some more sass to my look, I decided some makeup would do the trick. We went to Amy Head Cosmetics to sample some new lipsticks. “Nothing like a fresh lip color to put a spring in your step, right?” smiled Jen.
I had to agree. The peachy-pink shade I swiped on my lips complemented my skin, and indeed gave me a youthful look. As I examined my face in the mirror I began to realize that, just as my friends had been reminding me, age really is just a number. I felt beautiful. Forty could absolutely be fabulous.
I imagined this is what celebrities must do when they prepare for the Academy Awards.
“You’re in for a treat today,” Jasmine promised the next morning as we finished our coffee, rested after our evening of shopping.
“Is that so?” I replied with curiosity.
The girls brought me to Renaissance at Colony Park, an upscale, outdoor plaza. The weather was gorgeous—blue skies, the sun gently warming our faces—which made the open-air shopping experience all the more enjoyable. We visited a few shops, eyeing modern boho trends in fashion and accessories at Libby Story, and admiring the latest kitchen gadgets at Williams-Sonoma, when just before 1 p.m. Jen told us we needed to hurry and follow her. I obeyed, although slightly confused about what the sudden rush was all about, when she finally stopped in front of Aqua the Day Spa.
“Surprise!” all three girls shouted.
“In honor of this important birthday, we want you to feel better than ever, so we’re treating you to a spa day! This is one of the top-rated spas in all of Mississippi,” Melanie beamed.
For the next 90 minutes, my body was treated to an organic detox wrap, and I imagined this is what celebrities must do when they prepare for the Academy Awards. Exfoliated, cleansed and moisturized, I was quite sure my skin had never felt so silky smooth in all my life.
I couldn’t help but feel incredibly at peace, and grateful for the wonderful women in my life.
Following my heavenly spa treatment, we drove up the road and strolled around the quaint and classy boutique shops at The Township at Colony Park. I would have been content with the trendy boots I found at Arco Avenue and the new flirty dress from Frolic Boutique, but since this was a true girls’ weekend, we couldn’t pass up spending some time at Calistoga Wine & Spirits. The staff was incredibly knowledgeable, and helped us choose wines that would pair with our favorite meals.
We spent our final evening of the weekend back at the hotel. As we sipped one of our new wines, waiting for our nails to dry after exchanging manicures, I couldn’t help but feel incredibly at peace, and grateful for the wonderful women in my life. Growing older really wasn’t as bad as I’d made it out to be. I felt healthy and happy, and had the best friends a person could ask for. What a way to ring in my 40th year!
Jen interrupted my reflection, when she looked up from her phone and asked if anyone had plans for the first weekend in April. “It’s the Ridgeland Fine Arts Festival,” she said. We unanimously agreed to keep that weekend open, and return for a sequel to our wildly successful girls-only getaway.