the big 3-0: thankful thoughts

by Grace Bonney

The delicious cake and cake stand above are from Herriott Grace

Design*Sponge turns seven years old this summer, but today, I’m officially 30. I was only 23 when I started this site, and in some ways, I can believe it’s been that long, and in others, it still feels like yesterday. I’m so lucky and honored to still be sitting here, doing the job I love every day, so I wanted to share some of that gratitude this morning. Rather than worrying about getting older or any of the other things people do around this new age bracket, I wanted to really celebrate all the things that have been the most enjoyable, gratifying, humbling and fulfilling over the past few years spent running this site. Whether you’ve been joining me here since 2004 or are just stopping by for the first time, I want to thank you for the support and creativity you share with me, and everyone at D*S, every day. This site has been one of the most significant and special things to come into my life over the past decade and it wouldn’t be possible without all of you. I wish I could share some cake and a glass a champagne with all of you in person, but until then I’ll raise a virtual glass to our collective health, happiness and friendship. If this next decade is filled with half as much love and inspiration as you’ve all shared with me during my 20s, I will be the luckiest girl in the world. xo, grace

P.S.: I always love starting a special day with great music, so I’m listening to “Clay Pigeons” by Malaena Cadiz this morning. Click here to join in and listen. I wanted to embed the player in this post but it auto-plays so I decided to skip it, since most people don’t want to hear music without warning when they load a site. (Thanks so much to Lisa for the tip!)

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  • Happy birthday, Grace! You’ve certainly accomplished a lot in your 20’s–can’t wait to see what you tackle in the next decade!

  • Happy Birthday! (But please don’t refer to 30 as “getting older.” It’s not really old. I’ll be 40 soon and I’ve already decided that’s not old either.)

  • Happy Birthday, Grace. Looking forward to seeing another 7 years, and another 7, and 7, and 7…. As for turning 30, it’s going to be a great decade for sure! Best wishes!

  • Happy birthday, Grace! Thank you for reminding me to look at the bright side of things when I turn 30 this July! It truly is all about the good things. Best to you!

  • Wow, thanks for the great song recommendation. Just went to her site and purchased the cd. And, of course, HAPPY BIRTHDAY! You, your website and accomplishments are amazing. Nice work.

  • Happy birthday, Grace! Enjoy your special day. I too am turning 30 later this month and it’s such a great time to reflect on all the blessings in our lives. Your site has been a blessing to me–filling my days with beauty and inspiration. Thank you for doing what you do!

  • Since I started following DesignSponge a few years ago, I managed to quit a desk job I loathed and have since re-dedicated myself to living and working more creatively and more in line with my dreams and values. Thank you for fostering a vibrant online community that is an essential source of inspiration for so many!

    And, of course, a very H-A-P-P-Y B-I-R-T-H-D-A-Y to you!!!

  • Grace,
    A most happy birthday! I too hit the big 3-0 this year and I thank you for the inspiration you provide, not only in design, but in how you have lived such a big dream. Congratulations on all your success!

  • Happy Birthday! I’ve been following this site since 2009, and in the last couple of years, it has been a major influence on the evolution of my own design taste and knowledge. This site gave me the confidence to try all kinds of projects (like reupholstering chairs) and to be much bolder with color and style. So I just want to say THANK YOU!

  • Happy Birthday Grace! Your 20’s were an inspiration to so many of us, so I can’t imagine what you’ll accomplish in your 30’s! Enjoy a great day.

  • Happy Birthday Grace! How inspiring you have been in your 20’s, looking forward to your 30’s. I’ve got a little less than a year since the big 3-0. Hope my cake is that pretty!

  • Happy Birthday Grace. It’s my daughter’s 16 birthday as well. She’s going to the Black-Eyed Peas Concert In Central Park. It took me several attempts before I figured out that the reason why I couldn’t get a job with you was that I was simply not the right demographic. And I’m okay with that. I’m not sure why it took me so long to figure that out. Perhaps because you seem far wiser than me in so many ways. Stay cool and carry on. To great happiness and health I raise my virtual glass with you. x.o.

  • Happy Birthday, Grace! Your story is so inspiring… I’m currently 23 and just started up my own little blog. Who knows what it will develop into! Design*Sponge was one of the first blogs I started reading in college, and I continue to turn to it for inspiration. Here’s to another 7+ years for D*S, and another 30+ for you! Cheers, and thanks for fostering such a wonderful online community!!

  • To day is my birthday , too! Unfortunately for me, I am “somewhat” older. I wish I could be 30 again, because I found this age the best in life. Enjoy it!

  • Happy birthday Grace! I started reading this blog a few years ago (time passes by so quickly, right?) and have loved reading one great post after another every day. It’s the first site I open at work and provides me with some great morning eye candy to get inspiration juices flowing (I’m a graphic designer). I wish you all the best and hope the blog is up for many years more! Cheers :)
    PS. I wonder how you’ll be celebrating today, will you have a pretty cake like the one in the picture? yum!

  • Happy Birthday, Grace! Thanks for staring this site and keeping it going. It kept me going through a tough stretch in my life when I was contemplating quitting my corporate job to do freelance design. I made the leap, thanks in large part to your inspiration. I hope you have an awesome day!

  • Happy Birthday Grace!!!! As a newbie blogger, you’re a remarkable inspiration. Congratulations on 7 great years. As a new entrant to the big 3-0, welcome… I turned 30 in January, and it’s actually quite wonderful! :)

  • Happy Birthday! I hope it’s wonderful. Thank you for creating such an inspiring site. I’m here every day–D*S is an unparalleled resource.

  • A very Happy Birthday to you!! I’m turning the big four o next week and wish I’d accomplished half as much as you! Thanks for all your hard work – I love seeing what you come up with everyday. Enjoy your thirties!

  • Amazing Grace, here’s to a glorious thirtieth for our most inspirational design blog goddess! Look out, next decade!

  • Congratulations, and Thank You for all the inspiration I’ve gotten from here.
    Thursdays before and after is my favourite blog post of all the blogs I read, and the other days aren’t half bad either;-). It’s the mix that does it!
    (I’ve noticed more and more great functions with the new design, and I love the weekly recap at the bottom.)

  • Grace: your thoughts at thirty inspire the best in all of us. Raising my glass to you and your continued success! May you have many more beautiful birthdays!

  • happy happy birthday! i just started following your site about a year ago, and now it is a daily source of inspiration and awe. i hope you have a wonderful day!

  • Happy Birthday! and congrats! This is by far the most inspirational design blog I’ve come across in my three years in the blogosphere. You do an amazing job!!

  • Like many of the women have stated here already … your 30s are going to rock and, I believe, be even more life-changing. Really being comfortable in your own skin is something that becomes real after 30, in my opinion. Happy Start to the Next Decade!

  • Happy birthday Grace! I turned 30 two years ago and after the initial shock, I’ve never felt more myself or more confident. Congratulations and thanks for all the inspiration (I’ve been reading for years but never commented before!)

  • Happy bday grace!! you are an inspiration and an absolute delight! here’s to another decade full of creative design that will inspire thousands more! *clink* :)

  • Although I rarely comment, reading Design*Sponge has been a constant for me nearly every day since 2004. Thanks for the blog and Happy Birthday!

  • Your bday is just 3 days (and 5 years) before mine – no wonder we have the same taste! I hope it is wonderful!

  • Happy Birthday! I turn 23 tomorrow I can only hope this year of life holds as much creativity and promise for me as it has for you! cheers to inspiration.

  • Happiest Birthday Grace!!! I also turn the big 3-0 later this year. Here’s to living it up in our 30’s!!

  • Happy Birthday Grace! The 30s are wonderful, I think you’re going to really enjoy and surprise yourself with what you can do. Many happy wishes!

  • Happiest birthday wishes! Your site continues to rock everyday. My day isn’t complete without it, and I’m sure many people feel the same way. Congrats!! :)

  • Happy Birthday & May you have continued success! I’ve been a fan since the Washington Post featured your blog in ’04 or ’05. Your work is an inspiration to me. Many happy returns of the day!

  • That cake makes my heart go pitter-patter!!! Congrats on hitting 3-0. In your thirties life only gets better (I know from experience). HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

  • Feliz Cumpleanos! Happy Birthday lovely lady from Los Angeles, CA …you inspire me daily…I don’t know you personally, but you and your team are a part of my daily life M-F and for that I’m grateful. Be sure to thank your parents for me. LOL.

    Hope your day is filled with beautiful things, lovely people and a margarita or two. ;-)

  • Happy Birthday, Grace! I’m incredibly envious of that delicious looking cake you got. But that’s beside the point… I just wanted to say thank you for all the inspiration you provide every day, including being a strong and creative female entrepreneur who so gracefully fords the social and style streams for the rest of us. Enjoy your special day! (and turning 30 wasn’t so bad…)

  • Happy 30th Birthday, Grace! You should be incredibly proud of yourself for all that you have accomplished in this space! Thank you for constantly creating new, fresh content that inspires legions of design fanatics, such as myself, on a day-to-day basis. Keep up the phenomenal work! Oh, and I hope you and your husband are able to relax and unwind in celebration of your big day.

  • Happy birthday Grace…I just wanted to tell you how inspiring and wonderful this site is for those of us who love beauty and look for it in our daily lives. Keep enjoying what you do and sharing your passion! :) Big hugs.

  • Happy, happy day Grace! And thank you for all your hard work on this site — it is SUCH an inspiration. If you have any qualms about your 30s, put them aside — this decade is ALL the fun of the twenties without all the uncertainties. Enjoy every moment.

  • A very happy birthday to you Grace! I wish I could feel as zen about my upcoming 30th birthday as you!!
    I hope you have a wonderful day, get lots of pressies, eat lots of cake and yummy food, and surround yourself with the people you love :)

  • congratulations grace on building a lovely and informative site that brings inspiration and happiness to so many other people. you are just a babe in the age game. life only gets better, xo!

  • HAAAPPY BIIRTHDAAY TOO YOUU, HAPPY BIIRTHDAY tooo youuu, Haaapppy biiirthday deeear GRACE, Happy Birthday to youuuuuuuuuuuuuu!!!

    30 is a fabulous number, and you are inspirational, motivational and remarkably accomplished! a great example to all of us wafting around the 30 mark :)


  • I am heading into that same age bracket in a few weeks time and I am taking the same approach as you. I am not going to have the anxierty filled ‘breadkdown’ my friends have had. I am instead looking back proudly to see where I have come from and looking forward with great anticipation of what this new chapter holds. I hope you have had the happiest of birthdays. You have much to celebrate and be proud of. Congratulations.

  • Happy Birthday and Congrats on all the inspiration and love you share with us. Your efforts are greatly appreciated!!

  • I hope you truly gave yourself some time off and enjoyed your big day, and both Cole and I wanted to be sure to say Happy Birthday. Of course I meant to do this on your actual birthday, but I’m 36 now and the memory isn’t what it used to be :)

  • Happy Birthday, Grace! I always start my day with Design Sponge…and today especially, thanks for the song and introducing me to an artist I’ve never known before. Added Melaena Cadiz to my Pandora playlist. Another day brightener, thanks to Design Sponge!

  • Happy Birthday dear Grace! You’ve made the days brighter for so many of your readers. And just think about everything you have accomplished in this amazing decade! Brava!

  • Happy Birthday Grace! You are now “thirty, flirty, and thriving!” says “Jenna Rink” from “13 Going on 30”. Enjoy! Congrats! It is the best decade! I love love love your site and read it every day!

  • Happy Birthday, Grace!! Welcome to the 30’s age bracket/box!! Thank you for working so hard on such a wonderful blog, you’re awesome!!! xo

  • Can’t believe you are only 30 – just a child! You have wonderful design sense and writing ability – thanks for all you do for this blog and congrats on your birthday.

  • I hope you had a magnificent birthday celebration, Grace! All I have to say is, the best is yet to come. I keep telling myself that as I’m turning 30 in August too… I cannot thank you enough for starting Design Sponge! It’s helped me move away from this mental block i’ve been trapped against for some time now.

  • happiest birthday to you grace! i love, love, love your sentiments here. 20 is a great decade (i just left it behind myself) but 30 hold so much promise (especially based on the great accomplishments of the last 10 years.) i can’t wait to see what it holds for you and i so grateful that you share it with us. true inspiration is your gift to us on your birthday…and everyday!

  • I’ve been enjoying D*S for several years now, and I can’t even begin to tell you how much I look forward to looking at your posts, recipes, columns, and before and afters. It’s such a delightful treat! Thanks for your vision, stamina, and sticking with what continues to be an inspired and inspiring site. Happy Birthday!

  • Hey Grace,
    This is so cool. I am a June girl too. I’m turning 20 this 20th, and I was feeling bad about having wasted my last two years. Was almost depressed.. Thank you for lifting my mood- you are turning 30 and here you are going on about celebrating all the good things that happened to u and looking forward to the coming years. Made me rethink about life and my priorities..Thank you again. Hope everything turns out to be fantabulous for u :)
    Came across d*s 3 years ago and till today, I’ve never failed to check in on d*s every time I log onto the internet, which is like everyday!! But I have to say… I think your posts are becoming maturish you know… I prefer the ones you posted years ago when you were knee deep in your twenties ;) But wait.. the site is still lovely.
    btw, i don’t know if you’ve heard of Sri Lanka.. but I’m a Sri Lankan and I’ve been hooked onto d*s, so maybe I’ll try to pass this off as a b’day gift- someone living in as far as Sri Lanka is an avid follower of D*S, which only means the D*S is really good!

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