32 Life Lessons for my 32nd Birthday | Girl Talk Tuesday
Today I turn 32. Thirty-stinkin-two years old.
The way I see it, I have two ways to handle my birthday: curl up in a ball on the couch and drown my “I’m getting older sorrows” in a pint of Ben & Jerry’s OR I can choose to be positive and reflect on the life lessons I’ve learned. If you know me even a little bit, you know I picked the second option. I LOVE my birthday. I always have. Who wouldn’t love one day a year that is your day? It’s the day other people celebrate your life with gifts and cake. Two of the best things in life, if you ask me. I don’t just love my birthday, I love to celebrate and make other’s birthdays special too.
Birthdays are a big deal in my family. Love of birthdays definitely comes natural to me. Mawmaw LOVED her birthday. She wanted everyone to know that she was the birthday girl.
I decided to merge Girl Talk Tuesday with my Birthday to create a special Tuesday meets Wednesday post this week.
32 Life Lessons:
- 30 wasn’t as scary as everyone makes you think it is. In fact, I still feel like I’m in my 20’s. Age really ain’t nothing but a number.
- Say what you mean, but don’t say it mean. You can deliver bad news or criticism in love without being harsh. It’s not what you say as much as it is how you say it.
- Never stop learning. Just because you finished high school/college/whatever, doesn’t mean that the learning stops there. The most successful people are those who are the first to admit they don’t know everything because they are always willing to learn.
- Love hard. With your whole heart and without conditions.
- Nothing takes the place of real conversation. In this day and age of technology, it’s so easy to go days at a time with only having conversations via email and text. The problem is that you can’t hear the emotional inflections or read body language. I get that we’re not all blessed to have every conversation in person. But nothing replaces making a real connection with someone and that just simply can’t be done over text.
- Save more than you spend. Another one that can’t always be done, but I’m a firm believer in putting away money for a nest egg, rainy day, retirement, whatever. My mom always taught me you don’t spend what you don’t have. A new handbag feels great, trust me I know… But being financially stable and responsible feels a whole heck of a lot better than any accessory you’ve been eyeing.
- Treat Yo Self. Not to totally contradict myself in #4, but sometimes you really do need to splurge on yourself. Maybe that’s a new pair of heels, a piece of cake, a mani or maybe even a bubble bath. Just know that it is okay to treat yourself from time to time, especially as a reward.
- Put down my phone. My biggest distraction in life lives in the form of an iPhone. My iPhone contains everything that keeps me from being productive, all in one device. It also keeps me from connecting with my husband and even can cause me from just experiencing life.
- Prefer your spouse. You won’t like your spouse every minute of every day. But you do have to love them every minute of every day. A good marriage is a marriage built on love. A great marriage is also built on love as well as two people who prefer each other over anyone else on earth. You have to make a choice every morning to prefer your husband over anyone else.
- Less tv, more books. My Pawpaw always called the television, the “Idiot Box.” Kinda ironic seeing on how I grew up to marry an actor, isn’t it?! There is something to be said about wasting tons of time on trash tv (you know what I’m talking about!) Of course there’s nothing wrong with tv! But being married to an actor has caused me to take a look at what I’m consuming as a viewer, that the time I choose to sit in front of the tv be something that I really enjoy, I learn from… Not mindless tv. I feel so much more fulfilled when I use my brain to read a book than I do when I watch yet another episode of Real Housewives, and I love me some Real Housewives of OC.
- You need a good girlfriend. Your husband can be your best friend, but he’ll never be your best girlfriend. Chances are he doesn’t care about what color nail polish you wear or what dress you saw at the mall. We girls were created to be emotional and relational, which are beautiful things. We just have to learn which conversation topics should be saved for our girlfriends in order to spare our poor hubbies.
- Podcasts and audiobooks are an amazing thing. I was super late to the game on these two amazing inventions. Now, there’s no looking back. I almost always have an audiobook or a podcast going at all times of the day. I love taking in information while doing work or driving.
- It’s okay to not be the best. This one is a daily inner struggle for me. When I do something, I want to be the best at it, regardless of what it is. Call it a competitive nature, if you will. When I see someone else doing what I’m doing better… Then I immediately feel like a failure. I’m learning to stop measuring my results according to what others achieve.
- Success isn’t measured by your bank account. We grow up believing that you need to have the best to be the best. Better grades mean a better job which means more money. Success in your career is a great thing, don’t get me wrong. It’s success at home, with your family and your friendships, that make for a truly happy life.
- Cooking can be fun. I have several girlfriends who don’t enjoy cooking. I grew up in a family of really good cooks. Every family gathering you could count on some good food, it was a given. When I moved out to LA, my entire family was back East, so I had to either figure out this cooking thing on my own or eat every meal out. I looked at cooking as a fun hobby and I love being able to create interesting and fun new meals. I don’t really ever dread having to go home and cook dinner. I like being able to try new things. Sometimes I get it right and others, not so much. That’s okay though. Matt loves that I love to be in the kitchen whipping up new recipes.
- Stay hydrated. I get pretty intense about drinking water. I count my intake every day, and I stick by it. I’m a firm believer that your skin and your body directly benefit by staying hydrated.
- Dogs make life better. Read this post if you want to see all of my reasons why.
- You’ll never regret chasing your dreams. But you will regret it if you don’t chase them.
- Make sleep a priority. The saying, “You can sleep when you’re dead” is for the birds.
- Be the first to apologize. Even if you don’t want to or don’t feel like you’re in the wrong. Find what you did incorrectly, and apologize for that.
- Always ask for forgiveness. Saying you’re sorry isn’t enough. It’s not a true apology with asking the one you wronged for forgiveness.
- Have dessert. Maybe not after every single meal… But life is short, order the dessert.
- Marriage isn’t 50/50. Marriage is 100/100. You have to try your best every single day to give 100%, 50% won’t cut it.
- Be careful who you give your time to. Be choosy who you allow into your heart.
- Be quick to listen and slow to speak. The best conversationalists are really just the best listeners. Work on listening to what is being said instead of formulating your response.
- Fresh flowers and a scented candle make for a cozy home. Fresh flowers add color and life; candles add warmth, glow and scent to a room. Both help to create ambiance in the home.
- When you look bad, you’ll feel bad. Taking care of your body and appearance lift your spirits and your self esteem.
- Take your vitamins. I can tell a difference in the way I feel on the days I take my vitamins. In this age of processed food, it’s impossible to get all of the nutrients our bodies need in our diet alone.
- Cherish your grandparents. I grew up believing that my Mawmaw was invincible. She was the strong matriarch in our family. It was almost as though I couldn’t comprehend the thought of her not being here one day. I’m so glad I have the many memories I do with her.
- Don’t settle for less. Don’t settle for the wrong relationship, the wrong job or even a wrong friendship. God’s way is always better than what we could have ever planned for ourselves.
- Being a giver is so much more rewarding than receiving. Serving often benefits you way more than the person you are serving.
- Coffee is essential for life to even begin each morning.
Please leave a comment below with some of your most valuable life lessons, whether practical or heartwarming. I love so much reading each one of your comments. I’m thankful for the time you take to join me on this journey each week!
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Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life Review *SPOILERS*
For me, the most anticipated tv moment in my life has been the Gilmore Girls reboot. I was late to the game on the original series and only began watching it on Netflix the beginning of this year… But once I entered Stars Hollow, I never wanted to leave. I fan-girled. Hard. Now that I’ve watched the entire reboot and have had a few days to sit on my many, many emotions, I felt it was time to take to the blog and pour out my heart.
*Warning: if you have never seen Gilmore Girls before, don’t read this post because you may want to watch it in the future. If you have seen the show, but not the reboot, watch all four seasons before reading this post. After you watched it, come back and let’s chat.
And please, PLEASE don’t watch the reboot before you watch the entire series. You’ll ruin it for yourself, I promise.
Also, this is just my opinion. I realize that not everyone will agree with all (or maybe even any) of my thoughts. That’s the great part about good television, we all get something different out of it.
I’ve tried my best to stay away from the millions of reviews all over the internet. I wanted to give my own opinion with no outside reviews ringing in my ears. But as soon as this post is up, you can bet your bottom dollar that I’ll be reading a ton of reviews to hear other thoughts and opinions.
When we started the first episode, “Winter” (literally about 90 seconds after it was available online!) my first reaction was head-to-toe goosebumps. Those goosebumps lasted a solid 5 minutes. The black screen with magical wind chimes then audio that walked us down memory lane was almost too much for me to take. I loved it. It was everything I could hope for the series opening after almost a decade long break. My heart basically exploded inside my chest. Then “I smell snow” turning into SNOWFLAKES on the screen, sleigh bells and my favorite part… The “La, La, La” track. All of a sudden, we’re back. It’s the gazebo in the middle of the town square and there’s Lorelai and her best friend, coffee. Rory enters the scene and they have the best exchange, Gilmore style. We’re back in Stars Hollow and everything is right in our tv world.
I could go through and do a play by play through the entire series, which is exactly what I’d love to do. But, let’s be real, ain’t nobody got time for that. So I’m going to do a character and scenario breakdown.
I have a lot of happy feelings about the reboot, but more overwhelming, I have A LOT of disappointment. We’ll dive into my reasons for both, don’t worry. Let’s take it character by character, shall we?
Lorelai: I really hated that she and Luke weren’t already married. I think that was a major fail on behalf of the writers. She declares that it’s “always been Luke” but somehow doesn’t even discuss the idea of marriage after 9 years? It just never comes up? I don’t buy it. I think this was cheap attempt to keep us guessing about will they or won’t they, and I wasn’t pleased. At all. On the flip side, one thing I was pleasantly surprised about was Lorelai asking Emily for the money to buy/expand the inn. I feel like she had gotten to a place with her mother that she could do that, and a great way to honor her father. There are probably fans out there who felt this was so out of character, but for me, considering the death of Richard, I think this was appropriate. I always dont’ buy that in the past 9 years, Lorelai’s biological clock didn’t start ticking. But all of a sudden, she’s hearing fire alarms telling her it’s time to have another kid. If my calculations are correct, she’s now 48 years old. I have a hard time believing that she didn’t have these thoughts and feelings one her birthday landmarks of 40 and 45. Just saying.
Rory: Biggest let down of them all. The Rory we grew up with was not the Rory we were re-introduced to. Her storyline was unbelievable, literally. Rory was the perfect student at Chilton and Yale. She was the most organized and well thought-out young woman imaginable. I don’t see how we leave the series on her choosing her career over her love for Logan… But that turned into no career at all. Rory wasn’t the type of person to not have roots, to sleep on couches and to not have a paycheck. Yet, that is the Rory that we’re presented. Were the writers proving Mitchum Huntzberger right when he told Rory she had no talent? I don’t agree. I think she had the smarts and drive, but we see nothing to prove it now.
The most disappointing of all was the “no strings attached” affair she had with Logan. Again, not believable. Yea, Yea, I know some of you are out there saying “Well people change Angela!”…I know, I get it…but really?! Her character did a complete 180, retaining what seems like NONE of her traits, values, characteristics and qualities that made her who she was as a person in the original series. It all felt way too forced and contrived for the sake of the show, while ignoring the character who she once was. I know, I know… She had an affair with Dean when he was married to Lindsay in the original, but in Rory’s defense, she believed that their marriage was over. This Rory not only knows that Logan is engaged, but there is no talk at all of him changing his circumstances to be with Rory. Rory was never the, “Take him however you can get him” type. She’s not “the other woman.” In fact, it makes me angry to characterize an incredibly intelligent woman as a side chick. I also didn’t believe the light “talk” Lorelai gave her when she found out about Logan. Lorelai historically didn’t have it in her personality to let something that major go. She didn’t stand for Rory to be mistreated or used in the past, and instilled those values in her.
Emily: I loved her storyline. I think a lot of people probably have a hard time with the major changes we see in her. I don’t and here’s why: The story arc when Emily left Richard. She went absolutely wild. For instance, almost buying a private jet. When Emily goes through an emotional experience, she acts out. She experienced the biggest loss of her life, so I think the major character changes we saw in her were in line historically, and made complete sense.
Luke: Other than the marriage thing, I felt he was the same Luke we left 9 years ago. I loved his “declaration” moment with Lorelai. I loved how bent out of shape he got repeatedly with Taylor and Kirk. It was the same, rough around the edges but perfect Luke.
Sookie: We get it, Melissa McCarthy is a major star now. They could only get her for one scene with her busy schedule, I’m sure. There’s not much to remark on her except we still don’t know the name of her third baby, unless I missed it? Davie, Martha and ??
Michele: How did we never meet his husband? His zingers were just as great as ever though. My favorite Michele moment was when Sookie returned, their exchange about the granola. It was fun, just like the good ole’ days.
Lane: There’s not much to say because we didn’t really see much of Lane. But she did look exactly the same!
Mrs. Kim: There just wasn’t enough. She was one of my favorite characters and we didn’t see her anywhere near as much as we should have.
Mr. Kim: WHATTTT!?!? There’s a Mr. Kim! I didn’t know what to do with myself when this realization hit me.
Taylor: He was the same nut as always.
Kirk: Brilliant. Every single scene he had was brilliant. His character is probably my favorite.
Paris: We didn’t get enough of her in my opinion. Paris is such a great character. Her moments in “Spring” made me remember why I loved her all over again. So much intensity, but so much comedy. Her character has always been written the best. I never saw her going into that field professionally, but honestly, it makes sense. I just wish we’d gotten closure on the marriage fall-out with Doyle.
The Town Crew: Babette, Miss Patty & Gypsy. All were wonderful. Miss Patty looks amazing!
Dean: I always loved Dean. There was such an innocence about him. When we were speculating who Rory would be with for the remake, I never really considered Dean as a possibility. I always saw him as settled down with kids, no Rory in sight.
Jess: I held out hope that Rory would be with Jess for the new series. I love this character. I love that they always seemed to have this connection. The moment he was reintroduced, I hope he would be the end result. I love that they have similar interests and his support for Rory. I was so disappointed at the lack of development with his story line.
Logan: I’ve never been a Logan fan. There were moments where I felt he was promising, but I always preferred Dean or Jess over him. He was too “All or nothing” and, quite frankly, self absorbed for my taste. What doesn’t make sense about him, is 9 years ago we see him breaking away from the Huntzberger name. Becoming his own man. But it’s very clear in the new series that he’s engaged to an heiress which reeks of his father. It also appears that he’s back working for the family, but I don’t think that was ever concrete. I’m basing that assumption off of charging his lunch with Rory to the family account. Logan seems so crazy in love with Rory, so supportive, so involved with her life… To the point that he’s risking accepting her phone calls with his fiancé lying asleep next to him. Yet, he’s going through with the marriage for what? To please his family? To keep up appearances? How did the independent, self sufficient Logan we saw 9 years ago become the clone of his father? And even more, how stupid was his fiancé to not catch on?
UPDATE: I just saw a Facebook Live with Logan (Matt Czuchry) and he stated that Amy (the creator) informed him that Logan had spent the past 9 year entrenched in the family business and he has grown to love it. So after the show ended, we now know, Logan went back to work for his father. Based on this interview, it sounds as though the writer is saying that Logan went back to work for his father immediately.
Now that I’ve hit all the characters I wanted to, let’s talking about scenes.
The musical: Or should I say the biggest waste of my life to date? Holy freaking hot mess. It was just so unnecessary, drawn out and SO YAWN FEST! What in the world were they thinking? This added absolutely nothing to the show. It was terrible and it just seemed like fluffy filler.
The wedding: Another let down. We get to see the hype, the decor but not the wedding with all of our favorite people in one place. Such a major disappointment. And the worst part was who they had at the private wedding ceremony. Where was Jess? I don’t believe that Luke wouldn’t have called him. Why Lane and not Emily? You know Emily was staying somewhere nearby with the wedding being the next morning. Plus, if she got wind, her war with Lorelai would ignite all over again. We had Michele but not her best friend Sookie? Because she was back by this time right? I mean, I know, Melissa McCarthy’s scheduling…. But I feel like that was too important to not have her there when technically she is like 4 houses down from the gazebo!
The fight between Emily & Lorelai: I know Lorelai has foot-in-mouth-syndrome when it comes to her mother. The story she told after her father’s funeral was unbelievable, even for Lorelai. It made her out to be a truly insensitive person, which we well know isn’t the case. This was the writer’s attempt to spark a feud, but that was badly done. Lorelai loved her father, I don’t believe it was characteristic to tell those two stories, even for her.
Return of Life & Death Brigade: So unrealistic. We spent the first several minutes believing we were watching a dream sequence. Stars Hollow would never have fog machines or weird lighting. It was so fake, so unbelievably mystical. It didn’t make sense. So out of place. So overwhelming unreal. I hated it. It was shot horribly in my opinion. Not to mention, the last we saw of these three dudes, Rory was not a fan of them… Unless I’m remembering that incorrectly. But, I’m pretty sure I’m not.
The last four words: Going into this, I believed the last four words were either, “It’s another Gilmore Girl” or “Will You Marry Me?” Instead, we got the biggest cliffhanger possible. I get it, I get it… The story has come full circle. But what a horrible way to get it there. With no mention of who the father was. Again, totally unlike Rory to be irresponsible even in a moment of passion. She’s too level headed.
As for who the father is, it’s not the Wookie one night stand, that was too long ago. I don’t believe it to be Peter, Paul, or whatever her forgettable boyfriend’s name was. I also don’t think it was Logan. Isn’t that too obvious? It’s so very clearly not Dean. I think that the longing last look we see from Jess, staring at Rory through the window, was strategic. I feel like there’s more to that look, and definitely more to that story. I know we never had proof that they were ever together, but we also don’t have proof that they weren’t. Maybe I’m being hopeful, but in my head, the Jess scenario makes the most sense.
Honorable Mentions: I loved the cameos from Lauren Graham’s Parenthood co-stars, especially the scene that included both of her on screen daughters… So cool! Carole King’s appearance and her moment playing the piano was great. I also loved the throwback moments that only true fans would get, like the Cornstarch moment. Be still my heart.
Look, I’m very happy to have had the chance to visit Stars Hollow and our favorite tv characters. What I’m not happy about is how let down I feel by it. I woke up the morning after finishing the series and had this icky feeling I couldn’t shake. It was just the disappointment of it all.
I identify with Rory so much because of the high school dating experiences. So much of what she experienced, is what we’ve all experienced. Although I’ve grown so much as a person the past 9 years, I’m still the same person with the same core values. I think that’s why I’m so critical of the changes we see in her.
Alright, it’s your turn. Leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts and theories. I’m dying to hear from y’all on this!
Photos by Kara Coleen Photography.
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How to Stop Comparison from Stealing Your Joy | Girl Talk Tuesday
It’s my favorite day of the week: Girl Talk Tuesday. I love diving in and talking about topics that we girls struggle with. I’ve been wanting to tackle today’s topic for some time because it’s something I see most every woman in my life deal with: Comparison.
We all compare. We do it when we shop, when we make decisions, when we have conversations… Heck, when even do it when we date, although we swear we don’t. Women treat comparison like it’s an olympic sport. And some of us could medal in it a thousand times over.
There are situations when comparison is appropriate, sometimes even necessary. But there are also many times when it’s harmful. Theodore Roosevelt very famously said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Oh Teddy, right you are. I would venture to take it one step further to say that comparison is the thief of much more than joy. Comparison can also rob you of a healthy body image, security, friendships, self worth… The list goes on and on.
We women learn to compare at a very young age. I remember in grade school seeing girls with beautiful, curly hair and thinking, “If only my hair was curly like hers.” Maybe you didn’t have stick-straight hair like I did, but I can guarantee there are things you can remember your much younger self saying “If only” about. Maybe it was, “If only I was thin/smart/pretty/funny/outgoing…”
The comparing little girl grows up to become the comparing young woman in most cases. “If only” my marriage was better, I had a different job, drove a nicer car, my kids were better behaved, I lost this extra 10 lbs… The “If only’s” get more plentiful with age it seems. We watched Anne of Green Gables last week and the constant theme was Anne wishing to be beautiful, without her famous red hair. She wanted to be something, anything, that she wasn’t.
We were all created equal in God’s eyes, but here’s where things get interesting… God didn’t create all of us the same. We all are different and unique in our own way. But we each have our own idea of what “perfect” looks like, and it almost never looks like the person who is doing the defining. How boring would this world be if we were all looked, thought and acted the same? There would be no variety, no special gifts or talents. Holy Stepford Wives.
I’m so guilty of playing the comparison game. I did it in elementary school and I still do it today. I have an unrealistic expectations about who I am supposed to be as a person, wife and blogger. The funny part is, the only person who puts those unrealistic expectations on me, is me. I see what my peers are accomplishing and it makes me think that I’m slacking. That’s where I’m wrong. As Beth Moore (loosely) put it, we can think she (another woman) is beautiful without thinking that we’re ugly. We can be happy for her successes without feeling like a total failure. But yet we do.
We see the perfectly photoshopped figures of gorgeous women on the magazine covers and think to ourselves how terrible we look. Instead, we should realize that no one really looks that way, without the help of a team of professional editors. We see the perfectly decorated home on Pinterest and feel like an absolute failure because our home will never look that way. We read about perfect marriages and think there is something wrong with us when we have yet another fight with our husbands. Do you know the problem with all of this? It’s that we would’ve never thought we had a problem at all if we hadn’t seen someone else doing things “better.” That’s the problem with the internet and media in general. They portray that you’re living this way, but you really should be living that way. And we take the bait. We let those images penetrate our thoughts and hearts. We begin to see the way that others live/look/do things as the right way, and ours as the wrong. That’s how we fall into the comparison trap.
Before social media, we had to be more intentional in seeking out ways to make ourselves feel constantly inferior. Yes, we’ve always had the women at work or the gym who have the great figures. But we didn’t know what every incredible interior designer’s home looked like at the click of a button. We didn’t have the ability to see these perfect internet moms with their perfectly dressed kids.
So how do you stop it? How do you get off the wild comparison ride that makes you crazy? I’m still on it, personally, but I wanted to share some thoughts and practical tips that have helped me in some of my darker moments.
- Check yourself. When the words “If only” (or similar) creep into your mind, stop yourself and think about it for a moment. When I start on the downward comparing spiral, I try to stop it immediately and change gears. I don’t want to waste valuable time and energy doing something that only leaves me feeling inadequate.
- Stay positive. If I do find myself comparing and unable to shake it, I try to take control of my thoughts by considering the positive things about me or the situation. We’re all unique and unique is a great thing.
- Do something about it. There are times when we compare and it’s damaging. But there are also time when we compare and it should be a wake up call. If you’re feeling bad about your weight, get up and do something to get in better shape. Feeling down about your career, take the necessary steps to do something to change that circumstance. Instead of spending time and energy dwelling on what others have, spend it on achieving the goals you have for yourself. Dwell on the negatives and they’ll consume you. Get active and work towards the positives, and you’ll see results.
- Remember that comparing reaps no benefits. You always lose by comparing.
- It can destroy relationships, and I’m not having that. Have a friend or colleague that you secretly compete with? Guess what… There’s a good chance you’ll end up resenting that person, if you don’t already. We see someone consistently doing better than us, compare ourselves and then we begin to resent that person. We seem to forget regularly that we’re not all given the same gifts, traits or characteristics. I wasn’t blessed with a beautiful singing voice. Does that mean I should hate all my friends who can sing? Of course not. What we need to remind ourselves in these situations is that there is something we have been gifted with that others don’t have.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the moments when we’re feeling inadequate and insecure (read this post for more on that subject). It’s so stinkin’ easy to think that the grass really is greener. But as the saying goes, the grass is only greener where you water it. So next time you start to compare, stop and think about why you’re doing it. Is it something you can or should change about yourself? Or is this a total waste of time and energy. Don’t allow yourself to travel down the path of unrealistic expectations any longer. A positive mindset is a choice. Choose to see yourself for your positives, not for her (whoever she may be) positives.