28 Life Lessons I’ve Learned In 28 Years

First off, let me start by saying I cannot believe I’m writing a blog post about being twenty-eight. Where has the time gone? My birthday was in June, but I’m always late to a party, so it’s only appropriate that I share my twenty-eight life lessons I’ve learned with you a few months after my actual birthday.

Over the past twenty-eight years, I’ve wasted a lot of time stressing, worrying and trying to please the world around me. It’s only recently that I’ve learned what matters to me in life, how to let go of the little things and how important it is to embrace my true self. Don’t let me fool you, I still am learning everyday, but I wanted to share what I’ve learned along the way.

I’d love to hear what you would add to this list!

1. When You Think You’ve Found Yourself, You Haven’t

At every stage in life, I’ve thought I had my shit figured out. I “knew who I was” at age 14, 18, 21 and 23. But the funny thing is, I was a completely different person every time. Society gives us this weird feeling that we have to have our lives together by a certain age. What does that even mean? There’s no such thing as having your life “together”. Spend your entire life finding your true self and enjoy every freaking minute of it.

2. There’s No Such Thing As Too Much Traveling

Take every opportunity you have in life to travel. This doesn’t have to consist of a ton of time and money – take weekend trips and talk to the locals! Traveling allows you to explore new people, places and cultures in a way that you’d never otherwise be able to. You’ll come across ideas that you love, food that you never would’ve tried otherwise and experiences that you can share for years to come. I’ve left my heart in so many places – places that I never thought I would. And through travel, I’ve learned to appreciate the diversity of views and opinions around the world, which have helped influence and shape my own.

3. You Should Move Away From Home At Least Once

When I graduated college, I landed my dream job in my hometown and the thought of ever leaving was a foreign concept. But life happened and I had to move to the other side of the country. You know what happened? I learned to become independent, I made lifelong friends that I never knew I needed and I found a second home that I loved with my whole heart. Home will always be there waiting for you. For me, leaving my hometown was was the best decision I ever made.

4. You Won’t Keep the Same Friends Forever & That’s Okay

When I was young, my dad would tell me that “a true friend is someone that you can call any time of day to ask for money and they wouldn’t ask why”. He said “if at the end of your life, you need an entire hand to count that number of people, you’ve done good in life”. Five good friends!? I always laughed at that when I was younger. I counted them on my fingers and my toes then! But what I didn’t realize at that age was just because someone was your “friend” didn’t mean that they would be there for you through all of your ups and downs. Not everyone is your best friend. And that’s okay.

5. Be Yourself. No, Really. Be Freaking Weird.

I know this is easier said than done, but the second I decided to stop “going along with the crowd”, I found my true happiness. It took about 24 years, but I learned that through voicing my own opinions and interests, I was able to form deep connections with the people around me. And ultimately build relationships that made life more fulfilling. By being completely and truly yourself, you’ll automatically help others feel comfortable with being their self.

6. Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff

Boy, do I wish I could go back and tell little Angela to laugh off all of her “worries” as a teenager. The problems that you encounter as you get older make everything else seem so small. Laugh off the small issues while you can! That customer that got angry because you accidentally gave them sweet tea instead of unsweet tea does not matter in the grand scheme of things. Don’t stress it.

7. Take Life One Day At A Time

Feeling overwhelmed is no fun! Where are all of my other anxiety ridden babes at? A rule of thumb that I try live by: focus on what’s right in front of you. Don’t worry about what “might happen”, instead focus on what is happening right now. Only worry about what you can control.

8. Be Selfish

Yes – be so freaking selfish. I mean this. There’s no-one else looking out for you the way that you can. You have one life. Make sure you’re happy first. If you’re fulfilled, you will radiate your happiness to everyone else and organically make everyone else around you happier. Be so incredibly in love with yourself that no-one’s presence or absence will affect your being.

9. But, Be Kind

I’m going to go with the famous quote here to sum this one up “people won’t remember what you did, but they’ll never forget how you made them feel”. That’s all I have to say about that.

10. Never Let Yourself Get Too Comfortable

If you’re comfortable, you’re not challenging yourself. It’s okay to take a break every once in a while, but don’t sit for too long. This goes for relationships, jobs, school, etc. There’s always more to learn and more to improve on. You’ll never truly see your full potential if you settle.

11. Soak Up The Little Moments

That moment when you walk through your door and your dog is jumping up at you with excitement – embrace that. The beautiful sunset and flowers that are all around us – appreciate them. The smile that your mom has when you go to visit – soak it up. These moments won’t last forever. Take a step back from all of life’s busy moments to appreciate what’s right in front of you.

12. Take More Videos

I believe in being present first and foremost, but I also believe that videos are priceless. Being able to hear laughter, see smiles and feel emotions from past moments is incredible. Life happens fast. You’ll be so grateful for that footage one day.

13. Open Up To Your Friends

I spent years keeping everything to myself. I never talked about my “boy problems” or issues in my personal life to my friends. I guess it partially had to do with the fact that I needed to feel perfect. I started opening up about my life a few years ago and I’ve been closer to my friends now than ever before. Don’t be afraid to open up to the people closest to you. You’ll probably find that you’re going through the same things.

14. Be Patient With Your Family

When you’re young, you think you’ll live forever. But as you get older, you realize that time flies. Appreciate time spent with your family: ask your grandparents about their past, have your mom teach you her favorite recipe, go visit your niece or nephew while they’re young. These moments are everything.

15. Dogs Are The Best

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in 28 years of life, it’s that dogs are the ultimate best friend. Dogs are example of unconditional love and loyalty. And they’re really freaking cute!

16. A Simple Smile Can Change Someone’s Life

Smiling is the one language in the world that’s universal. And the best part – it’s free and contagious. Smile at everyone. You never know who’s having a bad day. You also never know if someone feels alone and needs simple eye contact to stop a bad thought from becoming reality. Take a half second to freaking smile. And mean it. 

17. Jealousy Roots From Unhappiness

Be happy with yourself and you’ll never feel jealous again. Do you ever find yourself feeling jealous when your friend succeeds? I have. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad friend, it means that you’re unhappy about something in your own life. Change it.

18. Money Is Great, But It’s Not Everything

I’ve experienced both sides of the spectrum. I’ve lived paycheck to paycheck & I’ve also travelled luxuriously. The fact is: experiences are experiences. It’s the people you’re with that make every experience memorable. I can deeply remember sitting on the floor in my first house eating Chinese off of paper plates just as fondly as I remember nights in Paris drinking bottles of Dom Perignon at six in the morning. To be honest, I probably remember the latter much less. For obvious reasons. Don’t incur debt if you don’t have to.

20. Soak Up The Sun

Sunshine can cure everything. You think I’m kidding? Try it. Wake up in the morning and open your windows. Let the sun in. Your spirits rise and you’ll be motivated for the rest of the day. Sunshine is so powerful and has a natural way of boosting your serotonin to make you feel more optimistic.

21. Don’t Leave Arguments Unresolved

You’re going to argue a lot in your lifetime – whether it be with your parents, your siblings or your spouse. I’ve made a rule that I never let an argument go unsettled. Tomorrow is never guaranteed, so never wait to resolve an issue. Talk it out and take ownership where it’s needed. Always be the bigger person.

22. Take Care Of Your Body

You only have one body, so take care of it! Learn to cook fresh meals (I’m telling this to myself), workout regularly, drink plenty of water, take your vitamins, floss your teeth and wear sunscreen. You can’t reverse the damage you do to your body. Treat your body like you would your most prized possession every single day.

23. Be Open To New Ideas

The worst thing you can do for the world is be one-sided. It’s important to have your own beliefs, but always keep an open mind and be willing to listen to other opinions. You may hear facts that you never knew or you’ll be able to share new information to others. Diversity is what makes the world an amazing place.

24. Older People Are Not Always Right

Our teachers, parents and leaders have a lot to teach us and we wouldn’t be here without them, but as a younger generation, we have a lot to teach them as well. It’s okay to not always agree. Stay true to your morals, ethics and beliefs and have the courage to do what you think is right.

25. Be Passionate About Something World-Changing

The world is a crazy place and we’re the only ones that can constantly better it. Whether it’s saving our planet, promoting women’s rights or simply spreading kindness – do something that affects our world in a positive way. If we all did this, we could make a huge difference in no time.

26. Horrible Life Experiences Really Do Shape You

I’ve been through a lot in my 28 years: I’ve had my heart broken, I’ve been a heart breaker, I’ve had friends that have betrayed me and family that haven’t quite been there. But, in the end, I wouldn’t change a thing. When you’re in the thick of it, it seems like you’re drowning and life will never be the same. You’re right. It won’t. It’ll be better. Eventually. Because you’ll be better and stronger for it. I promise! Feel what you need to feel and move on.

27. Recognize That You’re Beautiful

Above all – you are beautiful. Our bodies are not the same and that’s what makes us so amazing. The world would be extremely boring if we all looked identical! For years, I hated my stretch marks, my cellulite and my small boobs. At 28, I’ve finally become comfortable and confident in my own skin. If I could save you all of those years of questioning and embarrassment, I would. Embrace your body. There are others out there who strive to look like you! Rock it, gorgeous!

28. Love With Everything You Have

You’re going to deal with many heartaches in your lifetime – breakups, family drama, deaths, betrayal. Don’t ever let that stop you from loving unconditionally later down the road. Each person teaches you something about yourself. Love everyone to your fullest and you’ll never have any regrets.

Have something to add to this list? I’d love to hear it! Leave a comment below with some of your life lessons.

How I Celebrate Happy Hour With My Dogs

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of ZippyPaws. The opinions and text are all mine.

Where are all my dog lovers at? If you didn’t raise your hand, we can’t be friends. Just Kidding. But if you know anything at all about me, you know how much I love my dogs. Nothing makes me happier than seeing them happy! That look on Nellie’s face when I come home & I say “look what I got!” is priceless. My entire house is constantly covered in bones, toys and stuffing because I can’t stop buying them things. But not anymore. Now it’s just covered in bones and toys – because this new dog toy I discovered doesn’t have any stuffing! Let me introduce you to our current favorite dog toys: ZippyPaws’ Happy Hour Crusherz

ZippyPaws’ Happy Hour Crusherz resemble your favorite alcoholic beverage, so your dog can celebrate with you while you drink the real thing. After all, it’s not fair that they can’t paw-ty with you, is it? (Ha-ha).

Why do Nellie and Luke love these toys? Because they make an irresistible crunching sound & they can also tear them up without making mom mad. The toys come stuffed with a water bottle inside & are super easy to replace! Just un-velcro the bottom, take the crushed water bottle out and insert your new one. It’s like they have a new toy within seconds and you get to recycle your old water bottle. 

ZippyPaws seriously makes the cutest toys & I’ve been buying them long before this fun collaboration with them! All of their toys are always bright & unique, so naturally my eye jumps at them in the store. I’m a die hard fan!

Not a dog owner? That’s okay! They make the perfect gift for your dog lover friends & family giving them a matching toy for their favorite fur baby.

ZippyPaws Happy Hour Crusherz come in six different styles: Champagne, Rosé (my two favorites), Whiskey, Vodka, Tequila & Red Wine and can be easily purchased on Amazon

Celebrate Happy Hour every day with your four legged friend by picking out your favorite drink via the link below!

Click here to shop Happy Hour Crusherz on Amazon!

New Year, New Focus

2018 was a busy, busy year for me! It was my first full year of living in California & getting used to being away from family. I also got married which involved planning a wedding in Italy plus a reception in England and one in the US! I took several trips back to Orlando, went to visit family in Kentucky and Georgia, explored Seattle and visited Las Vegas for the first time! 2018 was the year of family and it was so full of love! But with traveling to see everyone, the exhaustion and inconsistency in my life really took a toll on me. In 2019, I’m going to focus on myself, my marriage, my business, and establishing somewhat of a routine no matter where I am in the world.

Tell me what you want to work on this year in the comments below!


Myself

I’m going to take extra care of my health.

Above all, I want to focus on my health this year. I’ve always been athletic, but I’ve really struggled with motivation to go to the gym, cook and even eat over the past year. Constantly changing time zones doesn’t help, but it’s not an excuse! I’m going to make it my priority this year to take care of my body. This includes COOKING, which I hate, sleeping regularly and pushing myself to sweat once a day – whether it be a simple walk outside or a full workout. I’ve also decided to give up red meat. I’ve been wanting to do this for a while, but I’m finally doing it. Mainly because I love animals so much, but also because the meat industry is tearing away at our plant.

I’m going to schedule time to stop and smell the roses.

My all time favorite place to be is outdoors and it’s a place that I don’t spend enough time! I work so much that I find myself wasting hours away indoors while the sun is shining. I’m going to schedule time in my calendar a couple of times a week to go to the beach, take a hike, read a book by the pool, do yoga, etc.

I’m going to dress how I want.

I’ve spent years and years of my life dressing plainly because I’ve never wanted to stand out. Us women get enough stares on the streets, why do I want to attract anymore attention? You know what… screw it! I’m going to dress how I want to, I’m going to wear that red lipstick and those heels and I’m going to stop worrying about any extra looks that I may get. BOO-YAH.


My Marriage

I’m going to set actual work hours.

It’s hard to shut off when you work from home. My husband and I are together most of the day, but I’m always working. I’ve spent so much time learning the ins and outs of blogging and the business over the past six months that I’ve really missed out on quality time. When I dive into something, I become obsessed with learning how to get better and better! I’ve struggled with balance for a while now and I’ve decided I need to set my own “office hours” and stick to them. After 6:00pm, the phones and computers turn off! Hubby time in full effect.

I’m going to finally make a date night jar.

I’ve literally had a mason jar and popsicle sticks for a year now that I’ve been meaning to turn into a “date night” jar. We have a list of restaurants that we frequently drive by and say “that place looks good” or movies we want to watch, but when it comes time to pick something to do, we can never think of anything. I’m finally going to make this damn date night jar, so we can randomly pick a date at least once a week and just go!

I’m going to plan day trips to explore our city.

We travel so much that when we’re home, we don’t want to leave the house. Our goal is to get off our butts and explore the beautiful city of Los Angeles that we live in, while we’re here. After all, what’s the point in paying an extortionate amount in rent to live in such a cool place if we don’t take advantage of it? I love exploring new places together! The truth is, we never know when we’re going to have to move, so we might as well soak up the city we’re in. Plus, I can always snap a quick Instagram photo wherever we go. 😉


My Business

I’m going to finally master how to use my DSLR in Manual mode!

Educating myself on blogging and the business side of things (new trends, new ways to pitch to brands, new ways to edit photos, etc.) is so much fun! I never want to stop learning. But, I have so many things that I want to learn that I keep failing to perfect my photography knowledge! I love taking photos and editing, but I still don’t completely know the ins and outs of my camera. I’m going to focus on learning how to master Manual mode & learn new ways to shoot creative content.

I’m going to write a blog post at least once a week.

I’m obsessed with learning, which is why I never get anything done! I spend so much time educating myself that I don’t have time left over to put it into action. When I do take time to write, I overthink it so much that I end up not even posting it. With that said, I’m committing to writing one blog post per week – minimum! Time to really get started. I really want to connect with you guys!

I’m going to be vulnerable and open up about real life struggles.

I want to start opening up to you all. I get messages on a daily basis about women who are going through hard times. Why am I not writing about my own? My life isn’t perfect. I have so many struggles that I go through in my daily life: anxiety, insecurities, relationship struggles, etc. I want to start speaking out about these because I know there are so many women who can relate. We are all in this together! I want to create a platform where we can lift each other up – and look stylish along the way. 😉

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My Tiny, Yet Inspirational Home Office Space

Working from home can be a challenge sometimes. In order to feel motivated and productive, it’s important to make sure your work space is inspirational and more importantly, functional! In this post, I’m giving you a peek inside my little home “office” View Post

7 Tips for Staying Healthy During the Holidays

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Cardigan: www.reneecollection.com

My number one blog post request last month was to write about how I stay healthy during the holidays. Below are my top seven tips for keeping your body and mind healthy, while still enjoying the best time of year! View Post