Happy Birthday Liz!

happy birthday liz4

Say Yes is being temporarily taken over for a special BIRTHDAY SURPRISE! Today Liz turns 35 and we thought what a better way to celebrate Liz then have some of her closest friends and family share their favorite stories, memories and things they admire about Liz. Happy Birthday Liz! We love you! –The Say Yes Team

Keep reading to hear about the time Liz lost the family car and more! And don’t forget to wish Liz a happy birthday!


Elizabeth (only her parents call her Elizabeth now) has so many endearing traits.  One is that she doesn’t give up.  When she wants to learn something, she tries and tries and tries  and tries until she gets it.  And then because she enjoys so much what she has learned, she will spend a great deal of her own time helping others to learn too. When she was 5 or 6, she wanted to learn to ride a bike.  We lived in a house that dead-ended in a cul-de-sac and the street had a gentle slope to it.  It was ideal for kids who wanted to ride Big Wheels, roller skate, or bike, because you could just coast down the hill at relatively safe (but for children, exciting) speed. Elizabeth’s older sister, Celeste, had learned to ride, and Elizabeth wanted to learn too.  Without any prodding by her parents or siblings, Elizabeth just headed up the street and tried and tried and tried again, until she got it!  She was so pleased with her achievement.  But having enjoyed it so much, she also started teaching other children, including her younger brother, Christian, to ride.  And she derived nearly as much fun from the teaching as she did from her own riding. So pleased with her tenacity and her willingness to take take time to teach others the joys she experiences.  Traits we all see in her.

Oh, and did I mention that we love her soooo much? –Timothy Ricks (dad)

ustin Hackworth Photography

Here are two experiences I would like to share. First of all, when Elizabeth was about 4 and Celeste was 5 they had their good friend and next door neighbor, Mardi Fuller, over. At some point they they started comparing their height. Celeste said, “I’m the tallest” Mardi said, “I’m the second tallest.” and Liz’s response was, “I’m getting there!” From early on Elizabeth has chosen to take the positive view of life. Jump to July, 2007. Our son, Spencer, was home with us in New York recovering from cancer and major surgery when we first heard that my Mom, who was living in Utah, had a serious fall. I was in a dilemma. I longed to be with my Mom but could not leave Spencer who required a special diet and constant assistance. Not long after hearing of the fall, I got a call from Elizabeth. She said, “Mom, I know you want to go be with your Mom….I will come over and take care of Spencer in your absence.” I left that evening knowing that Spencer would be in good hands. Incidentally, Spencer’s comment when I returned home was…”Liz’s non fat cooking was far superior to yours!.”  Liz is not only a masterful cook but is so tuned into others’ needs. Elizabeth has a second sense about what would mean the most to those she loves. How could a Mother not love a daughter like Elizabeth! She is a great source of JOY in my life and I feel so honored to share the same name. –Betsy Ricks (mom)

backpacking with kids

Some of my favorite things about Liz:

-She is always up for adventure
-She is accepting of people for who they are and nonjudgmental
-She likes to laugh and can appreciate the absurdities of life
-She is never pretentious
-She is extremely productive and can get a million things done in a day
-She is kind
-She will go to great lengths to make sure I taste the best “penis macaroon” in San Francisco (and yes, it was amazing)
Liz is one-of-a kind, accomplished, amazing and I can’t imagine my life without her! -Celeste (22-mos older sister)

Where do I begin?  I absolutely adore her!  She is one of my favorite people. Liz has so many wonderful qualities, talented, creative, happy, hilarious and just fun to be around.  She has incredible strength and is an inspiration for anyone going through hard times.

She is a wonderful mother and friend!  I’ll never forget how she saved our mutual friend’s wedding.  I was in charge of the food and wasn’t as prepared as I should have been.  Liz, in her quiet, subtle, understated way came in the kitchen and just started helping.  And she stayed in the kitchen all night, even though I’m sure she would have much rather been socializing with friends.  She was my brain for the night and it was because of her that everything came together.  I feel so lucky and blessed to have Liz in my life!  I am so glad that we both ended up in the Bay Area and love spending time with her whenever I can!  I love you, Liz and happy happy birthday! –Carol (friend)


I have a terrible memory, but one memory with Liz that sticks out in my mind is when we had X amount of time to treat ourselves for Mother’s Day and we couldn’t decide between getting to a certain movie or satisfying a serious craving for a decadent sundae from Bi-Rite (it would be closed after the movie).  Being the go-getter that she is, Liz was confident we could make the sundae AND the movie happen. We pulled over at Bi-Rite and Liz ran in to grab our goods and then we dashed off to the movie, giant sundaes in hand.  I hadn’t thought through the whole ‘eating a sundae while driving a stick shift’ bit, so ended up needing to sneak a sundae into the theater.  We made the movie in time, laughed our bums off, AND enjoyed some bomb sundaes. Great night.  I credit Liz’s ambition.  One thing that I love about her is that she’s usually up for adventures, even if they might seem a little crazy. –Liz (friend)


A quality I applaud in Liz is one she happens to share with her three sisters. While many people are quick to judge others, Liz and her sisters don’t go there. They don’t tear other people down to feel better about themselves. How refreshing! This tendency to give every person the benefit of the doubt probably came to them by way of their good hearted mother (who is, in the spirit of full disclosure, my sister). Whatever the source, Liz and her sisters have found a way to be smart, funny, capable women who don’t find pleasure in criticizing others. –Aunt Deborah
Liz continues to amaze me.  She cares about style, but totally gets that other things matter more.  She’s amazingly creative but doesn’t judge herself or others by that.  She adores her family but approaches motherhood with a sense of practicality. Actually, she’s practical about life in general, which is maybe why she gets SO MUCH done. Liz is GREAT!!-Donna (mother in-law)

My favorite thing about Liz is how she gets stuff DONE! –Jordan (sister in-law)


I like my mom because of the crafts she does with me. She is really fun to play with and she’s really nice to me. She always gets me foods that I like. I like it when I get to snuggle with her. Happy Birthday Mr. Mom! –Henry


Something that I really love about Liz is her great humor and positive energy. Growing up, I really looked up to her and she never had a problem with playing Barbies with my sister and I or taking us on fun outings. I have a lot of fond memories of her coming home to visit while she was in college. Here are just a few memories I can think of:

1. Taking Becca and I to see the movie Chicken Run and not being able to find our car after. It had rolled down the hill and had positioned itself perfectly into another parking spot.

2.Going to Jones’ Beach and listening to a lot of Brittany Spears.

3. Watching the first American Idol and calling in several times to vote for Kelly Clarkson (because she was amazing).

4. Being told to lie to boys who called from the singles ward asking for Liz and telling them that she wasn’t home. I believe we slipped on one of those and she ended up going on a strange date to see the freak show at Coney Island. –Katrina (sister)


When I was 11 years old, Liz took us to see the movie Chicken Run at a tawdry movie theater nearby. We were always a little on edge whenever Liz drove. I’ll say this much: she didn’t have a reputation as a good driver. Liz had driven our family’s bright red Volkswagen Beetle to the movie theater and parked it adjacent to a brick wall on a slight incline. When we emerged from the movie theater, blinking in the sunlight, we discovered that the car was gone. The spot was completely empty. I remember Liz started talking to herself, working through the last few hours to determine whether she had parked it around the corner or had picked an illegal spot.

Katrina’s tiny voice piped up. “There it is,” she peeped, pointing behind us. To our horror, the bright red Beetle was parked right up against a large building directly opposite the brick wall where we had originally parked the car. The story became clear once we examined the car more closely: It had rolled backwards down the incline and crashed into the nearby building.

Liz started talking to herself again. “OHMYGOSHOHMYGOSHOHMYGOSHOHMYGOSH,” she breathed as she examined the scratches and dents on the front of the car. “OHMYGOSHOHMYGOSH,” she muttered while we drove the car home. I remember her popping in a mix CD and blasting 311’s “Amber” at full volume, speeding down the winding roads and ignoring traffic rules. She spun around in her seat and made us promise we wouldn’t tell my dad she’d driven through three stop signs. Katrina and I were terrified.

It ended up being fine. Liz probably got berated for the dents but I don’t really remember the details. I do remember (a) feeling completely terrified by her driving and (2) thinking I had the chillest sister ever. With a few small adjustments to her driving, Liz has remained pretty much the same. She’s not quite as rough around the edges as she was during her college years, but she’s retained that wild, frenetic streak that was so distinctive to me when I was a kid.-Becca (sister)


One thing I have learned from Liz is never to let the truth get in the way of a good story!  Liz is always telling great stories about crazy/funny things she does or witnesses.  A few notable stories include (1) a ham-throwing lady, (2) gang violence at a screening of “You Got Served,” (3) a nearly nude walk up and down midtown NYC for $20, (4) greeting friends from the back of a police car and (5) a man’s forcible exit from a Chuck-A-Rama.  Her stories, perhaps slightly embellished at times, are always so entertaining for everyone and have become part of the fabric of our family. –Spencer (brother)


The best memories I have with Elizabeth always end with her in a fit of hysterical laughter. The reasons include anything from sneaking the old maid card into an opponents hand, seeing an old Amish man riding down the driveway on a scooter, saying something silly in a homemade Ernest movie, or some ridiculous dance move she and Celeste had been working on. It really didn’t matter what the stimulus was, as in the end she was so uncontrollably hysterically laughing that the rest of us couldn’t help but join her. Fortunately for her and us age hasn’t changed that about her.-Christian (brother)


I met Liz about ten years ago when we were both living in NYC. I liked her from the moment I met her and we soon became friends. One memory I love with Liz was when she and Jared came with me to Boston on a work trip. I’m a photographer and was doing some headshots at the Boston conservatory. At the last minute my make up artist fell through and so I asked if she would do it. She was a little nervous (since she had no experience in that field) but agreed to it. I remember she dressed up all edgy because we both agreed it would give her more credibility. I was amused at how well she played the part and what a great job she really did do.

One thing I really love about Liz, as this story illustrates, is she is always up for anything and always such a good sport. She’s always willing to go and do whatever it takes to be with her friends. And she doesn’t let having kids or other things stop her, even though that makes things more complicated. Whenever she’s in town she makes a point to get together. Liz is a wonderful friend and an amazing person. Happy birthday Liz! Sure do love you –Alisia (friend)


I remember the first time I met Liz at Gabby’s house in New York. More than anything else, I remember she had a small nose piercing. For a kid who grew up in Southern Utah, that was bold! I think she may by the the only I have ever met with a nose piercing. Poor sheltered little me. At the time, she seemed like a very daring choice for Jared. 10+ years later and now I think of how Jared won the freaking lottery with Liz. With all the baggage Jared brought with him, I have been amazed with how Liz has not only tolerated her crazy in-laws, but has even been forgiving. Jared is beyond lucky to have a wife that puts up with him and all of his issues. The Stanley’s are very lucky to have Liz as part of our family. Happy Birthday Liz! –Salem (brother in-law)

liz at the beach-web

There are so many things I love about Liz, it has really hard to narrow it down! But one of my favorite qualities for sure is how she has an almost kid-like wonder and appreciation for things. She can totally be in the moment and always notices when something is beautiful or delicious or interesting. I love that she doesn’t take things for granted. Here is a photo from a vacation we took together with some friends to Fire Island where Liz kept saying, “the light here is just so magical”! –Kendra (friend)

say yes team

Liz seems to have struck a great balance between work and family. I’m sure it’s something that takes quite a bit of effort as I know she is one busy lady but it’s really great to see her commitment to it. Happy Birthday Liz! –Sarah (say yes team)


I love working with Liz. She’s amazing at what she does and genuine in all she puts forth. Her creativity and ideas are seriously endless! From day one I’ve felt valued and appreciated working for Liz. She really is a great business woman who has mastered the art of organization, delegation, and getting things done! Happy Birthday Liz! –Ashley (say yes team)


In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter…

There is no shortage of laughter in Liz’s life. I am lucky enough to spend three mornings a week as her project assistant on the blog. Liz is such a joy to work with. She is smart, witty, extremely creative and most importantly, she loves to laugh. You know you really enjoy a job when it feels more like going to a friend’s house and getting to be creative together. A few months ago Liz was telling me about an article she had read about how often the average adult laughs per day – only 17 times. We started laughing and said how lucky we were because we laugh so often when working together. An amazing characteristic of Liz’s is her humor and wit and not taking herself too seriously. Happy birthday Liz! Keep smiling and laughing, it is so inspiring! –Sara (say yes team)

Pictures by Justin Hackworth, Kirsten Wiemer, Kendra Smoot, Sara Albers, Lorena Fernandez, Liz Stanley, Rachel Thurston, Kate Skogen



Happy birthday! This is so great. Also, I would love to know your secret/tips/wisdom for getting things DONE as so many mentioned. Two small kids + lifelong indecisiveness = I feel like nothing is ever finished and like I’m often just treading water with various projects and goals. Would you consider a post on this, or maybe a day in the life post?

Happy Birthday Liz!
I’m a lurker for years but I just have to greet you today.
I’ve been enjoying your posts all these years 🙂
Stay Amazing!

Greetings from a Filipina in Kuala Lumpur!

Happy Birthday, Liz! I learned more about how wonderful you are from all these lovely posts!

Oh, these were such wonderful tributes! Thank you Say Yes team for planning and executing this. YOU are wonderful friends and colleagues.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY LIZ! I always picture her with her gigantic, beautiful smile – she has one of the best smiles. Liz is hilarious but also very kind and a hard worker. And she’s always on an adventure! She handles pressure and trials so well, never giving up and with such positivity and faith. I admire her as a friend and most of all, seeing her mother her two beautiful children. She’s an incredible mother. I think anyone that meets her feels like they’ve known her for years, she radiates warmth and sincerity to everyone. I’m blessed to count her as a friend. Happy 35 years Liz! Love you!

I don’t even know Liz personally (only through the blog) and these made me cry! What a lovely and meaningful gift. Happy Birthday, Liz!

So much fun reading everyone’s stories! Happy Birthday, Liz.

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