From what Mike told me, when he was growing up, his family had a red place with the words "You are special today" on it. When Mike was home in April, his mom had found one of these plates at a consignment store and bought it to send home with us. We had the first option to use the plate for my 30th birthday.
The story goes that when something big happens in your life, you get to use the red plate. Then, on the back of the plate, you write what the special occasion was and what the date was. Mike said that his family ran out of room on the plate so they have a separate piece of paper with the rest of the special occasions. There is actually an entire blog about the red plate - go give it a visit. And if you are interested in getting one for your own family, I did a quick search and found them on eBay. The pen that comes with it seems to be a normal Sharpie, but I don't know for sure if that's the case.
For my 30th, Mike made me an amazing dinner inspired by one of my favorite meals growing up, Broccoli Chicken Fettuccine. Mike went so far as to call my mom and step dad to find out what my favorite meal was! Growing up we never had it with white sauce (unless I had it at Scalini's, which I often did on my birthday) but Mike went all out and even made homemade white sauce! I'll say I was quite impressed!!
Below are pictures from the meal. The first one is my original plate (before we remembered we were going to use the red place). Then you'll see Mike's plate of food... interesting how organized my plate is versus Mike's plate. Finally, the red plate.