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Saturday, October 26, 2019

50 things I wish I'd known sooner

Now, I know I'm far from old and wise, but looking back on my life after 26 years I think about things that I wish I had known sooner. It would have made my life a heck of a lot easier and a lot less confusing. So I decided to make a list of 50 things (trust me, I could have kept going) I wish I had known sooner in life. I also asked some people in my life and my Instagram followers what they wish they had known, I included those below mine. 

1. Hurt people hurt people

2. Be okay with being different, even if people think you’re weird (they will) 

3. Time is your biggest asset and it goes much quicker than you think 

4. Everyone’s smart in their own way, don’t let school fool you 

5. See it as it is — but don’t see it worse than it is 

6. Everything happens for you, not to you 

7. A person who values you will never put themselves in a position to lose you 

8. Learn to give without expectation, you won’t always be thanked or appreciated  

9. Your parents may love you but that doesn’t always mean they know what’s best for you

10. Don’t be so hard on yourself 

11. You need much less than you think 

12. Everybody is on their own timeline, you're not ahead or behind 

13. Bad times won’t last forever, neither will heartbreak 

14. Our childhood shapes who we become but we decide what we do from there

15. Listen to your dad when he tells you, “It’s going to happen when you least expect it.”

16. Money doesn’t change you, it changes the people around you 

17. You don’t have to ask for permission 

18. Don't look for love, look for your best friend and marry them

19. To be interesting you have to be interested  

20. Don’t be afraid to be the one who cares more

21. You should tell them how you feel 

22. The wound is not your fault, but the healing is 

23. Don’t outsource your self esteem 

24. Don’t be so afraid of rejection, rejection is much less painful than regret

25. You’ll never regret money spent on travel, books or concert tickets 

26. For the love of God, don’t go out drinking without eating first 

27. Nobody focuses on your flaws as much as you do

28. Blood isn't always thicker than water  

29. Forgive people, grudges are a waste of time and energy 

30. If it’s not a hell yes, it’s a hell no

31. Learn how to care less what people think about you 

32. The thing in your life you’re trying not to think about it, is the thing that needs healing 

33. Attracting attention is different than attracting interest 

34. Stop explaining yourself to people who are committed to misunderstanding you

35. Your mind is the most powerful tool you own 

36. Isolation is dangerous, don’t be afraid to let people in

37. You are worthy and you are enough 

38. The people that know the least about you, will always have the most to say

39. Your energy introduces you before you speak 

40. Do yourself a favor and take mixed signals as a no

41. If you have to force it, it’s not for you

42. How they treat you is how they feel about you 

43. You don’t always have to have a stiff upper lip 

44. Be thankful for those that look out for you without being asked 

45. Hatin’ bitches ain’t happy and happy bitches ain’t hatin’

46. Don’t get the popular circle confused with the winners circle 

47. Whatever you’re holding onto is holding you back 

48. Gut feelings are guardian angels 

49. Reach out to that person you miss- they might just miss you, too. 

50. Let it go 


Below is what the people in my life, as well as my Instagram followers, had to say… 

“That it may take a long time to decide what you want in life.” 

“It’s okay to be single. I feel like I was so focused on having a boyfriend I didn’t learn to love myself until later in college.” 

“Don’t try to impress anyone. Just be yourself and let life happen naturally for you.” 

“Material possessions do not mean success and that most you think have money are broke.
Oh and college doesn’t mean you’ll be rich.”

“There are good guys out there, wait for the one — don’t settle.” 

“You are where you are supposed to be.” 

“The friends you make in high school, very little of the time, become life long friends.” 

“That independence isn’t a flaw, it’s a strength.” 

“That veggies are fruits go bad very quickly.” 

“The only person’s approval you need, is your own.” 

“Dance like no one is watching.”

“Having thick skin is a must, and never take anything personal.” 

“Don’t make decisions out of fear.” 

“Leave that asshole.” 

“Things eventually work out.” 

“Wear sunscreen.” 

“Spend time with your grandparents.” 

“Hangovers get worse as you age.” 


The best thing about time is the knowledge and experience that comes with it. No matter what age you're at, maybe you can take one of these lessons with you. Life is not easy, but it is so worth it. 

Keep on keepin' on —XX, Laura


Monday, October 14, 2019

why you should be gentle with people

Every morning I wake up and the first thing I do is take my mini goldendoodle outside. I’m out there pretty early so I don’t usually see too many people. However, every so often I stumble upon men (sometimes women) sleeping on the ground—in alleyways, underneath stairs, trees, covered doorways… or mornings like today when I saw what I thought was a pile of garbage, but was actually somebody’s “blanket.” I only realized there was a person under there because I saw their feet hanging out. 

I do my best to not wake them up and hold my dog back from wanting to go over and sniff. As I walk away, I always get this weird, heavy, sad feeling. Here I am walking my dog down the street with my UGGs and matching sweatsuit outfit, only to go back to my cozy apartment where I have a king size bed, a full fridge, and an overflowing closet of too many clothes that I hardly get the chance to wear. Life has a funny way of humbling you when you need it most.

People tend to throw homeless people into categories, such as “drug addicts, failures, deadbeats.” We see these people out on the street in their dirty clothes asking for money and automatically assume that they’re some kind of lazy, no good loser. Our initial reaction is never, “How did they end up here?”

That got me thinking that we as a society tend to do this in general. 
We see what’s on the “surface level” of someone’s life and make assumptions without really knowing anything about them.

2019 has been a challenging year in my little world. However, I go about my days and deal with it, like most do. 

It makes me think—how many people go out into the world everyday and put on a brave face? How many people are out there walking around with a broken heart—dealing with loss, sadness, anxiety, depression, rejection, heartbreak—and nobody knows. How many people are out there feeling alone, feeling abandoned, feeling worthless, feeling like they have no friends, feeling like they have no where to go—and nobody knows. 

In the past six months, in my small little community alone, I know someone who lost a sibling to cancer, I know someone who got out of a broken relationship, I know someone who had a miscarriage, I know someone who became a single mom, I know someone who unexpectedly lost their dad, and another who unexpectedly lost their mom. I know a family who lost their father to a heart attack, I know someone who goes home to an alcoholic spouse every night, I know someone who’s in an unhappy relationship but too afraid to leave, and I recently met someone my age who’s estranged from their parents… all of that in the past six months, in a small, 25 mile radius. 

We interact with so many people like this in our day to day lives and most of us have no idea. We see them as coworkers, strangers, classmates, teachers, friends, workers, etc. 

I often think back on a time in my life a few years ago when I was in such a dark place. Ironically, it was also the same time someone complimented me on “always being such a happy person.” I remember thinking to myself, “If they only knew.”

No matter how someone appears on the surface, everyone is dealing with something.

It’s important to remember that:
You don’t know what people are going through.
You don’t know what other people have been through. 
You don’t know what burdens people in their daily lives.
You don’t know what happened to someone in their childhood. 
You don’t know what’s happened to someone in their adult life.
You don’t know what people have to go home to at the end of the day. 

Life is hard as it is. We all come with some sort of baggage, some worse than others. This is all the more reason to be kind, to be compassionate, to be patient, and most importantly, to be gentle with people.

XX, Laura 

Monday, August 19, 2019

how to be instantly more attractive

Attraction and looks is obviously important when attracting a significant other, but I totally believe there's so much more that can help attract the right person or people into your life. Here's what I've learned based on my experience: 

smile
A genuine smile can literally light up a room. We’ve become a generation of people who have normalized the “resting bitch face.” And yeah, maybe you do have a rbf…but think about it, when you’re out somewhere.. are you ever attracted to a guy/girl that looks miserable, bitchy or angry? Hell to the no! I think when you’re generally happy and having fun, a smile comes naturally…and if it doesn’t, well think of something else that will make you smile and let it show. Someone who looks happy, friendly and approachable is instantly more attractive. 

sense of humor 
OMG—this is a top 5 for me! A guy who can make me laugh is 100x more attractive in my eyes than a guy who doesn’t. I have a guy friend who I don’t see a lot, but every time I do, he literally has me laughing out loud the whole night. I always leave him feeling so happy and lighthearted. Sense of humor is SO key—it shows that you’re fun and that you don’t take life too seriously. 

confidence confidence confidence 
This might be my #1 trait I notice in guy. Confidence is so sexy to me. Confidence (without cockiness) is how you sell yourself. When someone can show up and be who they are, own it, and exude an energy of, “I’m comfortable with me,” —that more than anything is so attractive. Someone with body confidence, good posture, a strong handshake, and just an all around good vibe helps too. Confident people are a breath of fresh air—a demeanor of coolness, an easy to be with vibe, an “I know I’m not perfect but that’s okay” kind of attitude. Confident people have an air of self-assurance that’s just attractive AF. 

a grateful stance in life 
This one has become more evident to me the older I’ve gotten, but someone who has a grateful stance on where they’re at in life is super attractive. This goes for any age, but especially your 20’s when things are confusing AF and you’re trying to figure things out and you may or may not be where you want to be, but if I meet someone and they’re okay and content with where they’re at while trying/working to get to where they want to go… totally attractive. Also, someone who realizes and appreciates the little things in life. Entitlement is the quickest way to have most people running in the opposite direction. Gratitude is everything. Living and loving life for the simple things = ultimate attraction. 

positivity 
Looking at life through an optimistic view is way way waaaaaay more attractive than a pessimistic view. Someone with a bright and positive attitude is completely magnetic in my eyes. Someone with an upbeat “it’ll all work out,” kind of attitude is my kind of person. My dad and I love businessman Grant Cardone’s, “No Negativity,” saying that he stickers on his private jet. Negativity is draining. Positivity is enlightening and so attractive. 

smell good 
Literally had this discussion with my close guy friends a few weeks ago. We were pregaming before getting ready to go out and I saw one of their cologne’s sitting out. I sprayed all of them with a quick spritz of cologne and they were all like, “Lauraaaaaaa!” And I said, trust me…girls notice! And we do. As I’m sure guys do with girls as well. When someone smells good, you notice. It makes you want to linger around them a little longer. 

be present 
Unfortunately, this is something to be mentioned nowadays with the distraction that comes from our damn cell phones. Whether you’re out at the bar, on a date, hanging out with your friends…put your friggin’ cell phone down. This is actually one of my BIGGEST pet peeves in the world. When I’m out with a group of friends at a bar and someone is on their cellphone the entire time texting/calling/snapchatting whoever is NOT with us… I find that 1) annoying AF but more 2) disrespectful AF. I’m an old fashioned gal and if I could go back to the days before cellphones I would in a heartbeat, not going to lie. Focus on the company you’re with. 

be a good conversationist  
Being able to carry a good, engaging conversation about literally whatever is so much more attractive than not being able to communicate at all. I once went out on a date with a guy who talked about himself the ENTIRE time. Don’t be that person. Talk about something that you both, or the group, can add to. Communication in friendships + love relationships is so key. 

be passionate about something 
Passion is something you love. Being passionate about something and sharing it with the world shows that you know what makes you feel good, what makes you feel happy, and what lights up your life. Passion is addictive and contagious. When I listen to someone talk about something they love with enthusiasm and excitement, it gets me just as excited for them as it does for me, even if I have absolutely no interest in what they like to do. That’s exactly what makes someone having a passion so attractive—doing it and loving it so much even if it doesn’t make sense to someone else. 

be fun 
One of my favorite qualities about a guy I once dated was his spontaneity to literally do and plan whatever. One weekend we’d be at a dive bar playing shuffleboard and darts, the next we were at a luxury hotel in another state. Someone who can be down with whatever is so attractive. When someone says, “Hey, you want to go out on the boat?” and without hesitation someone says back, “What can I bring?” THAT is attractive. That no questions asked, doesn’t matter who’s going to be there, I’m down for a good time kind of vibe. Those are honestly my favorite kind of people. Someone who is fun and easy to be with. 

vulnerability 
I saved this one for last because it’s one that’s more easier said than done, no doubt. Vulnerability can be hard. Women tend to be more openly vulnerable than men. Men, it comes…with time. However, vulnerability is incredibly sexy, attractive and badass. I used to be scared of vulnerability because people can be judgy AF! However, what good does it do to hide yourself from the world and from people who may potentially love you? I’m a deep person—a deep thinker, a deep conversationalist... I don’t do well with the shallow shit. Being vulnerable has literally changed my life, and when I meet someone that can return the same to me (without judging), it’s incredibly attractive. 

I hope my perspective inspired you and made you realize you're way more attractive than you thought you were. 

All my love. XOXO

Keep on keepin' on
XX,Laura 

Sunday, August 11, 2019

greece 2k19

This past month, I took a trip to Greece and it ended up changing my life. 

Let’s rewind back to March when I initially planned this trip through a group travel company for “young professionals.” It was a travel company for people aged 25-40. I have always always always wanted to go to Greece and felt like it was a good time in my life to just do it. I also love having things to look forward to. Not to mention, I love meeting new people, so I figured what better way to meet people my age that like to travel than to go on vacation with them? 

Friday, July 12th, (after a 4 hour delay and 2 glasses of wine) I took off from the United States and landed the next morning in Athens, Greece. This was my first time overseas completely by myself. Landing in a foreign airport is always a little stressful, as the first language is not your own, but you typically figure things out by following the herd of other Americans. 

I had to somehow get myself from the airport to the ferry port to meet my group in another part of the city. I grabbed a cab and gave him the address. The first question I get asked sitting in the cab was, “Do you have husband?” I was jet lagged but smart enough to answer with, “No, but my parents are waiting for me at the ferry” (They weren’t…but when traveling alone, never act like you’re alone). The ride started off with a lot of questions about my love life, but ended up being one of the most insightful cab rides of my whole life. An early 50-something year old Greek man who left his long term wife thinking the grass was greener on the other side. Turns out, it wasn’t for him. He ended up missing the love of his life for flings that came and went out of his life. However, from this, he told me, “Fall in love with as many people as you can while you’re here on this earth, because love is the only thing that matters.” We had a long conversation about love and relationships, but we also talked about life… he told me, “The days are long, but the years are short…don’t let them pass you by.” It was like the best 45 minute car ride of my life.

I finally met up with my group in 90+ degree heat, and at this point mind you, I’m still in the same dress and makeup I put on over 18 hours ago. Can you say, woooooof. Any who, met the group and boarded the ferry like a herd of sheep with 100+ other people while sweat was literally dripping down my back. You leave your luggage in the bottom of the ferry totally free and open with everybody else’s with hopes that the people that get off before you don’t steal it. I’ve honestly never seen anything like it, it’s a total trust system. The 4 hour ferry from Athens to the island of Milos was long, but I got to know some of the people in my group pretty well. Fast forward those 4 hours later, we arrive in Milos and check into our hotel. 

I had dinner (paid for within my group travel price) with my “young professionals” group that night at a local family style restaurant on Milos. Now, this trip wasn’t overly expensive, but it wasn’t cheap either. It was a group of mainly girls (12-15) and 2 guys. At dinner, it was a group decision on what to order for wine—the group vote ended up being a sweet ass white wine (woof) when all I wanted after a 24 hour travel day with no sleep was a nice glass of cab. Following the wine at dinner, I quickly got a sense of the vibe, the conversation, what everyone was looking for out of the trip… and I immediately felt like I didn’t fit and knew I wouldn’t last 10 days doing this. 

So, without consulting anyone, I rebooked all of my plans, my hotels, my flights, my ferries, everything, to go off and explore Greece by myself. Obviously, I called my parents and filled them in so, God forbid, anything happened they knew where I was. My mom knows me so well, she knows I will do what I want regardless, but she said, “I trust you, Laura.” But, my dad being a dad was like “Ughhh, Laura….going off on your own…hmmm…I don’t know about this.” And I told him, I had never been more sure of anything in my life. And I meant it.

The next morning, I hired a private tour guide to show me around the island of Milos. Not only was he my age, but he was sooooo cute. It was just him and I, and we spent the whole day together—oh baby! Haha just kidding, kind of. Anyway, he was so incredibly knowledgeable of the whole island. He took me to the most amazing spots around the island— Cyclades, The Catacombs of Milos, Klima, Sarakiniko Beach (Magical—OMG!!), Plaka (a fisherman’s town where I insisted we had lunch together—greek salad for me, fresh calamari for him). There’s no other way to describe it than simply amazing. Not only did my tour guide show and tell me about the island, we talked so deeply about life and relationships. It was so refreshing and insightful. He taught me a different perspective on men and how they view women—it was not what I expected, but in a good way. He dropped me back off at my hotel and I hated to say goodbye to him. I actually had the hotel owner phone him to come back (after 3 glasses of rosé at lunch—so embarrassing!) just so I could tell him what an impact he had on my life that day. He kissed my cheek and asked me out for a drink, but I was leaving early the next morning. That day, that guy…it was truly one of the best days of my life. I still think about him from time to time.

The next morning I was off to Santorini— which would in turn, turn out to be one of my favorite places in the whole world — Wow! Santorini, truly a dream! I stayed at the Rocabella Santorini Hotel and Spa. I got a deal on TripAdvisor and literally lived the dream while I was there. It was a beautiful resort with first class service. It was truly amazing. I explored Santorini a bit the first day on my own and then lounged by the pool. The next day, I hired a private tour guide again and it was SO worth it. One of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Alone again with a male tour guide (living my parent’s dream..lol), this one was a bit older—later 30’s, early 40’s. Once again, had one of the best days of my life with him. Santorini is one of the Cyclades islands in the Aegan Sea. It was devastated by a volcanic eruption in the 16th century BC, hence how it got it’s curved island shape. He brought me all around Santorini— however, we spent the most time in the city of Oía, Santorini. Oía is the picture everyone has in their heads when they think of Greece—the white buildings with bright blue, colorful doors. Truly amazing. I did a little shopping while we were there, as he patiently waited outside for me. 

After Oía, we took off for a wine tasting at a family owned and operated well known Greek winery— Hatzidakis Winery. The winery is literally in an underground cave with stainless steel tanks, oak barrels, the whole unique shabang. My tour guide was a level 3 sommelier (he humbly told me when we got to the winery, like NBD) so he did the wine tasting with me (then spit it out into a bucket b/c he was my driver lol). I love learning about wine in general, but because it was just him and I, I was able to learn sooooo much from him! I ended up buying one white and one red to take home with me. After we left the winery (him sober, me kinda really buzzed), we went to the “black beaches” of Santorini, also known as the Perissa Beach—all black sand and black pebbles—one of the longest and most famous beaches in Santorini. Also lined with bars after bars, aka party vibes. 

One night in Santorini, I was having dinner at the restaurant in my hotel. There were 4 other guys about my age that came in and sat at the table next to me. They were kind of looking at me and I was kind of looking at them…and by chance, our waitress was trying to set us up to meet each other-Haha! Long story short, we ended up going out together in Santorini that night to some high end night club. They ordered bottle service and the rest was history. The boys were such gentleman, all born and raised in NYC and now work on Wall Street. I was totally taking a chance going out in a foreign country with a ratio of 4 guys to 1 girl (every dad’s worst nightmare), but it ended up being one of the best nights of my life. Sometimes you just have to trust your instinct and go for it. 

The next morning (hungover AF, mind you), I boarded a ferry in Santorini that took me back to Athens and I spent my last few nights there. I stayed at the King George hotel which I also got a deal on thanks to Travelocity. I’m the queen of finding luxe for less—a secret talent of mine. The hotel is also known for their rooftop restaurant, Tudor Hall, that overlooks the stunningly famous Acropolis. I think I had the best meal of my whole trip here. It was the perfect ending to my trip. 

I ended my trip earlier than expected due to changing plans and spending way more $$ than intended, but it was soooooo worth it. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. I will never ever regret money spent on travel.

Greece is BY FAR my favorite place I’ve ever visited. It totally knocked Italy off my #1 spot. 

My favorite things about Greece:

—The weather! It’s hot AF in the summer, but the blue skies and sunshine are so worth it. 

—The food! OMG I literally ate a Greek salad everyday—to die for. Aside from that, everything was so so fresh, especially the seafood. Not to mention, the olives, capers, and tomatoes are all grown locally and out of this world. 

—The people! Greek people are a different kind of breed. I’ve been to a few different countries in Europe, and personally, I found Greek people to be the friendliest, most appreciative, helpful, and happiest. Not to mention, they’re total romantics—OMG! I got asked out 3 times while I was in Greece (totally flattering) and all of them were so sincere, sweet, and complimentary…but I obviously knew and kept in mind I was an American girl by herself, like helloooo common sense.  

—The vibe! It’s hard to describe, but the vibe in Greece (at least the summer vibe) was so fresh and fun. 

What I learned from this trip: 

—I know exactly who I am and I don’t f*ck around or waste my time (or feel bad about it). 
-Case in point ditching my group travel. 

—Everyone, including myself, is truly looking for the same thing out of life: true love.

—Don’t try to be classy and spit olive pits into your napkin. You look like a buffoon, Laura.  Use your hands and take them out of your mouth and put them on your plate. 

—Traveling solo, you can be whoever the f*ck you want. Nobody knows where you’re from, what your background is, what your situation is…they know you for you in that moment. Liberating AF!

—You're young and free and it feels f*cking amazing. 

—You learn what you like and what you don’t like. Hence, me ditching my “young professionals” travel group. I wouldn’t have known that that wasn’t for me, had I not tried it. You live and you learn. 

—You make friends WAY faster overseas than you would at home. I don’t know if it’s the vibe, or being out of your normal element, but everyone wants to be friends when they’re traveling. 

—You don’t need to pack as much as you think you do. 
Side note: I say this now, but will probably overpack again on my next trip. 

—You don’t need another glass of wine, but you won’t regret it…because you’re in f*cking Greece! 

—Street smarts, baby. I kind of have a “baby face,” that can come across as very friendly (which I am), but when you’re in another country alone, there’s no time for mixed signals. Honestly, I walked around like a bad ass bitch, not because I think I’m cool—I’m definitely not (lol), but because I didn’t want to be a target for someone to take advantage of me. I hate to sound cold, but shit does happen to people, and you have to think that way and protect yourself the best you can. 

Lastly, the most important and meaningful takeaway from this trip:

—Problems at home don’t seem so big anymore because there’s a whole other world out there. Never forget that, Laura. 

If you made it through this long blog, WOW good for you, the real MVP. Honestly, I could have kept going with details. It was the TIME OF MY LIFE. I honestly came home feeling like a completely different person. 

 Also—if you read this, book a trip to Greece, ASAP.

Keep on keepin’ on—
XX, Laura 

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

final takeaways from 25

25—what a weird age. Halfway to 30, but feeling so far away from 20. 

I turn 26 years old today and I’ve spent some time these past few days reflecting back on my 25th year. 25, for me, was the most challenging year of my life. However, it was also the most rewarding. 

Final takeaways from 25:
  1. If you want to feel like you’re worthy, you have to act like it.
  2. There is no healthier drug than creativity. 
  3. You’re not intimidating. They’re intimidated. There’s a big difference.
  4. Happy people don’t hate.
  5. 3 ride-or-die, trustworthy friends > 30 acquaintances 
  6. Bigger hoops + higher heels.
  7. Listen more, talk less.
  8. You’re unhappy because you’re not in alignment with who you are. Not because of what anyone else is doing.
  9. Say yikes and move on. 
  10. 99 problems. 99,000 blessings.
  11. Don’t settle. Wait for the real deal. 
  12. Don’t be afraid to be the full package. 
  13. You are exactly where you need to be.
  14. Be the attitude you want to be around.
  15. Bad vibes don’t go with cute outfits. 
  16. The sun doesn’t care if it blinds you. Don’t be afraid to shine.
  17. “What separates privilege from entitlement is gratitude.” —Brené Brown
  18. Be enough for yourself first.
  19. Don’t seek validation from people who aren’t even valid. 
  20. You will never be too much for someone who can’t get enough of you.
  21. Respect > Attention
  22. You can’t buy love, but you can buy wine. 
  23. Be obsessively grateful.
  24. No grit. No pearl. 
  25. Speak your truth.
I’d Rather Be Anything But Vanilla 
Although the majority of people tend to like vanilla flavored anything, vanilla is pretty, shall we say, basic?! Maybe a little boring. Maybe even a little blah?! Vanilla doesn’t have the pizzazz that rocky road or chocolate chip cookie dough has. They’ve got a little extra sumthin sumthin to them. I use to try and be the vanilla girl, to hide all my extra add in’s and toppings (lol). I wanted to appeal to everyone, try not to be disliked. However, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned that vanilla ain’t shit. It’s really everything you add into ice cream that makes a flavor stand out. I would 100% rather go out and be a girl that someone says, “OMG I LOVE HER,” or, “OMG I CAN’T STAND HER,” than be a girl described as, “She’s nice.” Talk about a snooze fest. I think this has definitely come with age, but it’s been one of the most profound and life changing things to happen to me this year—to go out into the world and be my own crazy flavor.

Be Humble but Don’t Hide 
I thank the Lord that my parents raised my sister and I to be humble human beings. However, in the past I was almost overly humble that I kind of devalued myself. I kid you not, when I was younger I use to straight up lie about things in my life just so I could fit in. It was a learned behavior for me. As soon as someone found out too much about my life, they would look at me differently. So, I coped by lying and downplaying anything that I thought might make people uncomfortable. I look back and feel sad for that girl that she felt like she had to hide who she was. To fit in with who? and for what? I’ve now learned that it’s not my job to protect someone else’s ego. Being humble has nothing to do with being lesser than or shrinking yourself or your life to “not make others feel uncomfortable,” but being so content and at peace that you don’t feel the need to hide who you are or prove your worthiness to anything or anyone. 

Growth is Uncomfortable AF… but so worth it 
This is something that no one really ever talks about. The price you pay for growth isn’t all happy and fun. It’s hard f*cking work. It’s lonely, it’s isolating, it’s confusing. My friends joke that I have a tendency to disappear come wintertime. For the past 3-4 years, I kind of have. I hate using the term “lost” but I kind of was. I didn’t know what or who was true in my life anymore, or where I was suppose to be, or what I was suppose to be doing. More than once, I felt like I was completely losing my sh*t. So, the past few years I spent some serious time soul searching and deep diving into who I am. It was painful AF at times, not going to lie. When you really take the time to look at who you are—your faults, your dark side, your childhood, your upbringing, your relationships, traumatic things that happened to you, etc…it’s deep and it’s dark. But once you acknowledge all of that, own it, work through it, and heal… the other side is so damn worth it. Hands down, the best and most rewarding thing I’ve ever done for myself.

Travel
Near, far, across the country, to a different continent…travel, anywhere. It keeps you curious about life and gives you something to look forward to. The places you go, the people you meet, the food you eat, the wine you drink… there is nothing in the world like it. Traveling opens your mind, inspires you, gives you new perspectives, and leaves you wanting for more. Travel is theeee most important luxury to me.

Judging Ain’t My Style
People have a lot to say about lives they’ve never lived. There’s some gurus out there that will tell you that it’s natural to “judge,” and I’m not saying they’re wrong…but I’m saying that I don’t believe it does anyone any good. Life is hard AF. We all come from such different backgrounds, situations, heartaches, etc. We were all raised differently, we all think differently. We were all put here on this earth, for whatever reason, with whatever circumstances were given to us…and we’re all just out here living, doing the best we can. Anyone who thinks they know best is full of sh*t. Nobody has all the answers, except maybe God. Everyone is on their own journey, let them experience it, let them figure it out. You truly never know what’s going on in someone’s inner world. We all sin differently, make mistakes differently, learn differently, live differently, love differently. The differences are what makes life so damn cool. 

You Do You and Imma Do Me
Following the above statement, I definitely use to be more of a judger than I am now. Not going to lie, I use to hardcore judge the girls that wedge their bikini bottoms so high up their ass and then turn around to “get a pic for the gram.” But I mean, honestly… I got to thinking, if that TRULY makes them feel good, what does it matter to me if they shove their bikini bottoms up their ass crack for a couple of likes on Instagram? Does that impact me? Does that affect my life? Obviously, not—not in the slightest. So WTF do I care for? What am I wasting my time thinking about their wedgie pic for? I’m sure there’s people out there that are like OMG, Laura…another dog pic? Another quote? Another food pic? It’s much easier to go through life allowing and accepting people to do whatever they want. Different strokes for different folks. 

You + You = Greatest Relationship You’ll Ever Have 
When people ask me what’s changed my life the most, it’s truly been by spending time alone and falling in love with myself (I know that sounds corny AF). I was deeply insecure when I was younger and never really knew it. Even in long term relationships with men who loved me, I never felt like I was enough. I always felt pressure (in my own mind) to be everything I thought they wanted me to be, instead of just being who I was. Following the above point, spending time with me, myself, and I over these past few years has made ALL the difference. A trip out west followed by a ski season in Park City, UT was really the turning point for me. Everyone thought I was living the dream in Park City, which I most definitely was, but I was there completely alone. If you’ve ever moved somewhere where you know absolutely no one, you know how lonely that can be. Like, PAINFULLY lonely. That was a growing season for me, for sure, baby. Ever since that winter, I’m no longer afraid to be alone. I’m completely okay with it because I truly learned to love my own company. I say with complete humility that I really like who I am now. I know the amount of time and work I've put in trying to better myself and become a better human being. No way am I even close to the girl that I was a few years ago. And I’ll tell you what, after you learn to love yourself and your life, your taste in the company you keep will change as well. 

Sexy is Being A Good Woman/Man 
In my humble little opinion, I think in today’s society, being a good woman or a good man is SO undervalued, overlooked, and underrated. I think sometimes we get so focused on the superficial shit and being the best and being the baddest..when really, just being a good, classic, wholesome, down to earth, kind person is what’s really sexy.

When People Show You Who They Are, Believe Them 
When I think back on people and relationships I’ve had in my life, I tend to have this bad habit of overlooking how they first act, their reputation or what they share with me. I like to think, “They only act this way because of this,” or “Oh no, they definitely meant what they said.” I’m a “but you don’t see what I see in them,” kind of gal. I ignore the, “Laura, you really shouldn’t waste your time,” or “Laura, they’re not a good person.” I honestly can’t help it. I choose to see the good in people. However, I learned from a good friend of mine that when people show you who they are, believe them the first time. People will show, and sometimes tell, you point blank. Don’t try to twist and turn and figure out what you think they might have meant. When people show you who they are, believe them. 

Roots Will Always Be Tangled
As we grow and change through life, I think it’s only natural that the people and places in our lives inevitably change as well. One of my favorite Nicholas Sparks quotes states, “I think it happens to everyone as they grow up. You find out who you are what you want, and then you realize that people you’ve known forever don’t see things the way you do. And so you keep the wonderful memories, but find yourself moving on.” That’s the beautiful thing about life—that history can’t be changed. Growing apart doesn’t change the fact that for a long time, you grew side by side together. Your roots will always be tangled. 

Getting A Pet Truly Does Change Your Life
This past Christmas, I got myself a miniature golden doodle puppy named, Peanut. It was actually more my parents’ idea than it was mine. I was in no way, shape, or form ready for a dog. Like, at all… but my baby boy, Peanut, ended up being a nice little spontaneous Christmas surprise. Holy hell, does a puppy turn your world upside down!! My life went from cool, calm, collected and CLEAN—to lots of pee, poop, and patience. Waaaaay more work than anticipated, but so so worth it. He is the little love of my life. He’s brought me more love, laughs, joy and comfort than I could have ever imagined. He is my constant companion. 

Looking back, 25 ended up being one of the best years of my life for many reasons, but mainly because it shaped me into a better woman. I appreciate where I'm at right now. I have never felt more self-assured, secure, and unafraid to be myself than I do now. I'm excited for this next half of my twenties and all of the uncertainty and new chapters to come with. 

25- thank u, next. Here's to 26.
XOXO, Laura