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The Valley Line:

Doubly-delightful birthday

May 13, 2010|By Jane Napier Neely

Another birthday weekend just sped by me — my, my, where do the years go? I’ve stopped worrying about any new wrinkles or another white hair; I’m happy to be mobile. And, most of my memory is where I can still find it.

Daughter Heather, who lives in Palo Alto, came down for the big event, and she planned each detail as a surprise. I spent one day and a “sleep-over” with my Santa Barbara twin sister Elaine and our younger sister Nubby (her nickname) at her San Clemente home. My niece Rebecca, who lives in Santa Barbara, also joined the party. We had more than enough sister giggles to last the entire year.

The next day my daughter whisked me away once again to a fabulous surprise at the incredibly beautiful Montage Hotel in Laguna Beach. As soon as the valet opened my car door and greeted me with, “Happy birthday, Mrs. Neely,” I knew whatever happened next was going to be superb. Indeed it was — an entire day at their beautiful spa with aromatic pampering. Lunching by the spa pool with a view of the ocean was absolutely divine.

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We then checked in to an amazing corner suite at the hotel overlooking the ocean, which was a deep blue and sparkled as the sun danced over its surface. Chilled champagne was awaiting us in order to celebrate the occasion. We later dined at the hotel’s “Loft” restaurant, where our food selections were prepared to perfection.

That evening the sound of the surf lulled me to sleep. It was such an amazing way to celebrate a birthday that I really didn’t mind getting another year older.

If I ever want to have a magical Southern California getaway, the Montage is at the top of my list! I didn’t have to go through any airport security lines or frustrations of air travel to feel like I was in a special tropical paradise — it was just about 50 miles down the freeway or PCH.

It was a really BIG event recently when Town and Gown of USC held its annual fundraising benefit at the “Va-Va-Voom” Ritz-Carlton, Los Angeles, and its sister hotel the JW Marriott, Los Angeles at the L.A. Live Entertainment Complex in Los Angeles, adjacent to the Staples Center.

More than 600 guests attended to experience these new Los Angeles landmark hotels and the entertainment center, as well as to raise funds for Town and Gown’s Scholarship program, which awards upward of 100 scholarships a year.

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