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Surprises In Store

Another wonderful birthday party for the books!

By Alex McCord

Just when I think there's nothing else Simon can do to surprise me, he comes up with something new. Any time one of us says to the other - don't worry about that date, I'll do the planning; surprises will definitely be in store. Prior to this year, my favorite was the big 30th birthday. 8 ½ months pregnant with François, a big dinner and cocktails were not on the cards. So what else could we do? Simon chartered a helicopter and we flew around amazing experience.

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So how did he top that? It all began with vague instructions as to what to wear. Dress warmly...hmm, it's only October. We got into the car and Simon asked me to put on a blindfold - which I was happy to play along with as I knew it was all part of the plan, though it didn't stop me from trying to keep track of the turns we made. I had a feeling we were on the west side, so when we parked I wasn't surprised at all to hear water. Once we got onto the gangplank I knew we were getting onto a boat, and then when we went inside I heard a snicker. Surprise! I was thrilled to see a group of our friends, food and drinks and the makings of a great night. It was great to see Bethenny there as well, and meet her friend Lauren. I had mentioned to Simon that B had been having serious relationship issues, culminating in the conversation the day before just prior to our Greenmarket date. Although Bethenny and I hadn't known each other very long and hadn't had deep conversations, suddenly there we were. When a relationship implodes someone winds up being the first responder, and that day it was me. I've been through breakups as well, and the most important thing in the moment is to listen and just be there for the person. That was the day before the birthday party, and I was really happy that Simon invited her as another really important thing to do in a crisis is not sit around at home.


The party was amazing, though at one point I glanced at Bethenny and saw that she was hurting. I wanted to check in with her - sometimes you look at someone and know that their mood is going south. I grabbed her as well as Simon and we went into the living room of the boat to talk. Her situation was still unfolding and I don't know that she'd had the opportunity to sit down and discuss it too much. Sometimes it helps to talk with someone who is removed from the situation and can listen impartially - Simon and I both tried to do that and listen we did; it was hard to get a word in edgewise. All my life people have called me disarming, as Bethenny did, and I'm still now not completely sure why but I embrace it anyway. People tell me things about their lives, I listen. Anyway, Bethenny was able to get some things off her chest which could only be a good thing.

After drinks, nibbles and great conversation, our guests left and we set sail for a romantic dinner cruise. Simon chose the menu, capped off with the presentation of a beautiful pair of earrings from our favorite jeweler Ray Griffiths at, and if Simon had been reading my mind he couldn't have done a better job. What a fantastic birthday!

Lastly I wanted to make a comment about my hair. Many people have commented about it, and all I can say is, it's only hair! I work a 40+ hour week; I have two young boys who need me morning and night and quite frankly spending an hour in the salon is one less I get to spend with my boys. I ask you, what's more important? Some posters have asked me to share details about where we grew up and what brought us to New York and to each other. For more on us, please visit

Bonne nuit! -A

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