updated 10/17/2005 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 10/17/2005 AT 01:00 AM EDT
Within 10 minutes, the birthday girl had already won big. "You can pay for your house now!" joked mom Tina, referring to Ashlee's new manse. Added a pal: "Or at least buy some furniture." But nesting will have to wait. After a Monday night dinner with friends at Spago, Simpson resumed her promotional tour, which includes a high-stakes wager for her career: an Oct. 8 performance on Saturday Night Live, the site of last year's lip-synching debacle. "I'm excited," she says. "I've been waiting to go back."