HAPPY BIRTHDAY TATJANA! It’s mind boggling to me that my baby is now a quarter of a century old! After almost as many hours of travel as years old she is (the Rhodes’ family version of candles on a cake) – we are finally soaking up the rays and downing the mango juices on an exotic beach in another hemisphere.

Tatjana meets her parentsAugust 23rd, 2011

Thinking about it, Tatjana has probably clocked more air miles than most considering her first transatlantic flight happened at the ripe old age of four weeks old when she became the youngest person ever to travel from London to New York on Concord.

1st Birthday with Simon & Yasmin

Toronto – 1st birthday

Most of her early childhood was spent on tour – including her first birthday at the Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto. Yasmin LeBon and I stayed up most of the night before decorating the hotel suite and making sandwiches. Thankfully, David Bowie and Simon LeBon were there to sing Happy Birthday since mom is tone deaf, and dad is not a lot better at singing.

Tatjana's 13th birthday trip to New YorkTwelfth birthday in New York

Of course dual citizenship has added to that mileage balance considerably as well. Many birthdays were celebrated more than once – with one in America (usually at my parent’s  lake house), and a second one back in London with her English family and friends. I’m BIG on birthday celebrations.

Tatjana's 12th birthdayClear Lake make-over party

Including her thirteenth birthday in Clear Lake, Iowa where Tatjana and her friends took over an entire hair salon for make-overs, and her sixteenth in Las Vegas taking in the shows, and gawping at the gaudy.

Tatjana's 16th in VegasLas Vegas show girl birthday

And then there is the travel lust for seeing the world she inherited from her mother. Every chance we get to explore a new locale, is seized with excitement. It is hard to forget a milestone when it was spent tracking

Tatjana's 18th birthday trip to Mexico18th birthday in Mexico

lions in Africa or the perfect silver ring in Mexico (did I mention she also inherited the shopping gene too)?

graduation trip in CroatiaTatjana taking in the beauty of Croatia for her 23rd birthday

Birthdays abroad have definitely become a tradition, as have celebratory hotel rooms, with increasingly more sophisticated versions of your Waldorf Red (or blue) Cake.

Tatjana Rhodes 25th birthdayWith Tatjana on her 25th in our soon to be disclosed mystery locale

I love you Taj, and wish you many more happy, healthy returns of returns of the day filled with adventure.

birthday cake





1/2 cup Crisco
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 ounces red food color
2 teaspoons cocoa
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


3 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
1 cup sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 tablespoon vanilla



1). Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 2 – 9″ cake pans, or 3 – 8″ cake pans.

2). Cream together Crisco and sugar in a large mixing bowl with electric beater, then and eggs and beat until light and fluffy.

3). Mix red food color and cocoa in small bowl, and add to mixture in #2.

4). Mix salt into buttermilk; then add to mixture #2 alternately with flour. Using the fold setting on the beaters, end with flour.

5). Add vanilla, soda, and vinegar (in that order). Beat 2-3 minutes after everything is added.

6). Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center of cake layers comes out clean. Remove from oven and let stand in pans for 10 minutes before turning out onto cake racks to cool. Cool completely.


7). Add flour to a large saucepan, then add milk gradually , stirring until smoothly blended. Cook milk and flour over medium heat until thickened to the consistency of oatmeal. Cool completely before continuing on.

8). Beat room temperature butter and sugar for 15 minutes, using a timer, until butter becomes pale yellow. Add vanilla, then fold the cooled flour-milk mixture into the butter cream icing.

9). Spread just enough icing over bottom layer(s) to secure next layer on top, then ice entire cake and decorate as you please.


You can substitute any color you like for the red…my daughter’s favorite color was blue, so she always had a Blue Velvet (one of her father’s favorite films) Cake for her birthday.

« Previous PostNext Post »
  • August 22, 2011
    2:45 pm

    Happiest of birthdays Tatjana! Enjoy your special day. It’s a special day for your mum and dad too, the day you entered their lives and made them parents, a very special breed of the human species. Congrats Jewels! You have a very special daughter and it’s clear how much you mean to her. Hugs to you both!

    • August 23, 2011
      5:39 pm

      Oh, we had SUCH a perfect day. It started with her blue cake for breakfast. We shopped (and did more damage to our wallets in 30 minutes than I thought humanely possible), and went for body scrubs, massage, facial, and manicures/pedicures. Then came back to the hotel, got gussied up, and went to the chi chi restaurant here – ranked #1 on the island, and top ten in all of Asia. I did the tasting menu that was insane! There will be a blog post forthcoming.

  • August 22, 2011
    8:54 pm

    Happy 25th Birthday Tatjana! Now the fun truly begins!
    There is nothing like Momma’s love that that is very evident in this blog. From the photos to the words. Absolute Love. A stunning woman with kindness in her eyes. Excellent!

    The cake and presentation is absolutely stunning.

    • August 23, 2011
      5:44 pm

      Hehehe – can you believe I was cheeky enough to send my red cake recipe to an award-winning, A.M.A.Z.I.N.G pastry chef??? He did us proud, and the cake has never been so elegant!

  • August 22, 2011
    9:51 pm

    Tatjana — Happy 25th birthday to a beautiful young lady who is loved so very much LITERALLY the world over! Hope you have a wonderful birthday and a fantastic vacation.

    Jewels, she is gorgeous – you and Nick have much to be proud of in her. Well done you!

    I’m sure the cake was as delicious as it looked!

    Much love to you both!
    ~Kendra (@cheriqui)

    • August 23, 2011
      5:52 pm

      From a mother’s perspective she is very special, but then, I’m biased.

  • August 22, 2011
    7:32 pm

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEAR TATJANA!!!! Have a super wonderful day with your dear mum and all people you love!!! you are a very special person,like your mum and dad,and deserve all the best in the world 😀
    Congratulations for this beautiful post to your daughter Julie Anne!!! very special Mum and wonderful too,kisses and millon of hugs from Argentina!!!!!!!

    • August 23, 2011
      5:41 pm

      Thank you Denisse – it was a magical day I think she will remember for years to come.

  • August 22, 2011
    8:02 pm

    Happy Birthday!

  • August 22, 2011
    8:38 pm

    Happy birthday Tatjana!!!!! God bless you!!! M.

  • August 22, 2011
    9:08 pm

    Happy 25th Tatjana!! Well done to you too Jewels !!! Love from us in Australia xO

    • August 23, 2011
      5:45 pm

      Collen – they are no responsibility and ALL of the fun at this age. We had a blast.

      • August 23, 2011
        5:46 pm

        I meant Colleen – sorry, still jet lagged and trying to type quietly so I don’t wake her up.

  • August 22, 2011
    9:19 pm

    Happy Birthday, Tajana!!!

  • August 22, 2011
    9:35 pm

    Happy birthday, Taj!! 25 years??? Was it not just a few years ago that we were swimming at Clear Lake?? & playing cards in LA??? Knowing your mum I am sure u r enjoying a wonderful birthday in s magnificent location!!!!!!!!:):):)

    • August 23, 2011
      5:48 pm

      Hey Marlene – is my uncle behaving himself? We have an exciting week ahead – safari through the jungle on top an elephant tomorrow!

  • August 22, 2011
    9:39 pm

    Have a Happy Birthday Tatjana! :):)

  • August 22, 2011
    9:59 pm

    Happy Happy Birthday Tatjana!!! I hope you have a fabulous day!!


    • August 23, 2011
      5:53 pm

      Thank you Dawn!

  • August 23, 2011
    5:04 am

    Happy birthday to your beautiful daughter, Jewels! Enjoy your trip together and of course, make sure you take tons of pics!

    • August 23, 2011
      5:50 pm

      You better believe it. They think I’m completely nuts here photographing every plate of food placed in front of me.

  • August 23, 2011
    5:21 am

    So cool that you this evry Birthday. Tatjana is very lucky girl. Happy Birthaday to Her

    • August 23, 2011
      5:56 pm

      Well not every birthday, but we try to do the major ones. Makes for such spectacular memories.

  • August 23, 2011
    1:46 am

    Happy birthday Tatjana!! Have a wonderful day!

    • August 23, 2011
      5:52 pm

      Thank you hon!

  • August 23, 2011
    2:08 am

    Happy birthday dear Tatjana!!!

    Valentino Pemma
    (Šibenik, Croatia)

    • August 23, 2011
      5:53 pm

      We want to come back to Croatia! Thank you.

    • August 24, 2011
      5:05 pm

      Happy BIrthday, Tatjana! Hope you have a nice day!

  • August 23, 2011
    5:07 am

    Happy birthday Tatjana!!!

    25, wow… the last time I met you you were about 5 years old… now you’re a lovely young woman and I wish you lots of happiness and success.

    Take care XXX

    • August 23, 2011
      5:54 pm

      Can you believe all grown up. Feels like I blinked!

  • August 23, 2011
    5:15 am

    Happy birthday Tatjana…
    have a blast…

    • August 23, 2011
      5:54 pm

      Oh we did!

    • August 23, 2011
      5:55 pm

      Thank you 🙂

  • August 23, 2011
    11:34 am

    25, already??? OHMYGOD! Time flies! My Yasmin is 14 now, what am I saying? Congrats!

    • August 23, 2011
      5:57 pm

      Blink and they are grown!

  • August 23, 2011
    1:20 pm

    Happy Birthday to Tatjana. I hope you both have a wonderful trip.

    • August 23, 2011
      5:58 pm

      We are just finding our stride here – lots of interesting things to be writing about, and many adventures to come.

  • August 23, 2011
    1:51 pm

    Wow… 25 years it doesn’t seem possible. I wish you the most happiest of birthday Tatjana!! I remember the day I found out that you were pregnant JulieAnne. Looks like you are having a wonderful time in your mystery destination! Again Happy Birthday Tatjana and MANY MANY MORE!!!! 🙂

    • August 23, 2011
      5:59 pm

      She’s brought a smile to my face every day since I found out I was pregnant with her – that is a lot of smiles and a few wrinkles.

  • August 23, 2011
    2:26 pm

    Happy Birthday Tatjana! Hope you have a great one!

  • August 23, 2011
    6:00 pm

    Merci boucoup.

  • August 23, 2011
    6:37 pm

    Happy birthday to Tatjana!! Wishing you the best year ever!! Beijos from Rio! 🙂

  • August 23, 2011
    6:58 pm

    Happy Birthday Dear Tatjana!!! Sending millon of kisses,hugs and the most beautiful wishes in your special day and always,because you are a special girl and deserve it very much!!!
    Congratulations for your beautiful daughter Julie Anne!!! Kises to you too,and beautiful blog!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂
    Kisses from Argentina!!!

  • August 23, 2011
    8:03 pm

    Happy birthday Taj! You and your mom look so beautiful! I just had my 40 bday yesterday, am envying your 25, and knowing your mom’s gonna tease me to “know my audience!” but age is just a state of mind. Have a great time being your gorgeous selves in Bali…eat, pray, and for certain, love 🙂 every moment of it!

  • August 24, 2011
    4:37 am

    you both look adorable. happy birthday tatjana!

  • August 24, 2011
    6:39 pm

    August babies are the best! Micaleh just celebrated her 12th birthday on August 18th! We didn’t get to take a fun trip but we did go to a prescreening of the new Muppets movie and met Jason Segel so that was fun! 🙂 Hope you are taking lots of photos and finding time to relax -sometimes when you get home you need a vacation from your vacation! hehe

  • August 24, 2011
    3:04 pm

    Happy day to both of you since it’s such a shared event. I think it’s wonderful that you have such a strong tradition together. It’s a bond and a wonderful treasure trove of memories that she’ll carry with her the rest of her life and likely enjoy with her own child when that time comes. 🙂

  • August 24, 2011
    4:28 pm

    I hope you had a super birthday Tatjana!
    From the semi shaken Washington, DC.

  • August 24, 2011
    4:33 pm

    Lovely pics JulieAnne, You both look beautiful, wishing Tatjana a very happy 25th birthday,time goes so quickly treasure those special moments while you can, hope mine is as much fun this weekend 🙂 Enjoy the rest of your adventure together.

  • August 25, 2011
    12:23 am

    Nothing for me is more moving, exciting, captivating, charming, brilliant then reading of a genuine love between mom and her child. My son is 1yo and now I am able to understand all the resonances of your happiness. God bless you Julie Anne and Tatjana, it’s a pleasure reading of you. Love from Italy.

  • August 25, 2011
    2:08 pm

    Happy 25th birthday, Tatjana! I hope you had a wonderful, exotic celebration with your mom. Best wishes from Maine.

  • August 25, 2011
    11:26 pm

    Thanks for all the birthday messages!

  • August 26, 2011
    3:36 pm

    Happy Birthday Tatjana!
    Seems like you both had an amazing time away.
    I’m sure you are both planning your next trip away.
    Wow…..25. How time flies! What a beautiful daughter you have grown up to become. Great job Julie Anne. Oh those family genes!

  • September 13, 2011
    3:30 am

    Like we use to say in Portugal, better late than never… so i wish ALL the lucky to Tatjana and her fantastic mum. Another thing I LOVED to see JulieAnn and Nick picture in the Unstaged concert… You both still look so good together…
    Regards from Lisboa,
    Graca Pereira