It's my Birthday! 35 Things I've Learned by 35

First and foremost, welcome! I wanted to start a blog for the last several years. Every year I tell myself, “OK, I’m going to launch. I’m going to sit down, create content, and share it with the world.” And every year passes, and I continue to keep my creative thoughts to myself! So what’s so different this year? Well, I finally realized that we only have this life once. Finding your true passions - and actually being able to partake in your passions (whatever they may be) - is a luxury. So many of us work, have families and tend to our busy lives, we often forget what our passions are, struggling with the woulda-coulda-shoulda. Well, my passions are what I intend to share with you all: my writing, traveling, good foods, great books and of course, home design.

I thought a great icebreaker of introducing myself to the world would be the top 35 things I’ve learned at 35. Over the last two decades, I have now gone through several major moves and relocated my entire life. I have made new friends, and lost some old ones along the way. I’ve had once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to travel the world and help refugees. But most importantly, I have learned so much in becoming Kaila (shameless FLOTUS book plug).

So Happy New Year to all of you taking the time out to read this and follow my new baby, Randolph and Roses. And to friends and family, thank you for the birthday wishes, but most importantly, your love and support. Cheers!

1| Being kind to others goes a really long way.

Sometimes, all it takes is a smile to make someone else’s day. If you have the time to volunteer with your favorite local charity or non-profit, great! If you don’t, that’s ok. Just remember to treat others as you would want to be treated.

2| Gratitude is everything.

Always say thank you.

3| Friendships change — and that’s ok.

Some people get boggled down by life, whether that may be new relationships or new babies, you name it. It’s not always you. Don’t take it personally.

4| Be open to meeting new people.

You never know who you might meet or if it’s the start of a new friendship.

5| Stay humble.

Everything that can be given can be taken away.

6| Love hard.

There is no fear in love. So, love with all you have.

7| Be your most authentic self.

Don’t change who you are for other people. Be yourself. Change for yourself when necessary.

8| Stick to your goals.

Write them down. Make sure they are realistic. Create intermediary goals along the way. But never give up.

9| You are your biggest cheerleader.

Pat yourself on your back. You’re doing a great job!

10| You are also your biggest critic.

Stop! Turn off the negative comments running through your head. You’ve got this

11| Working out is a luxury.

Not everyone has the time to go to the gym. Not everyone has the time to even work out at home. Do what you can. Take a 15 minute walk during your lunch hour. Eat healthier.

12| Good habits take time.

Beyoncé didn’t become Beyoncé overnight.

13| Practice really does make perfect (most of the time).

Keep writing that novel. Keep playing that instrument. Keep painting that canvas. Practice. Practice. Practice.

14| Surround yourself with positive energy.

Nothing kills a good vibe that negative energy. Stay away from toxic people and toxic environments.

15| Don’t hold grudges.

Forgiveness is for your inner peace. Not theirs. Forgive and move on.

16| Sometimes, it’s ok to turn every thing off for a peace of mind.

Turn off the phone. Turn off the computer. Turn off the tablet. Sometimes we need to turn everything off to “reset” our minds.

17| Try new foods.

How are you supposed to know what you like if you’ve never tried anything new?

18| Ask the waiter their favorite when you’re indecisive on what to order.

You’ll be satisfied every time.

19| Drink your water.

Clear skin. Healthy hair. Energy. Need I say more?

20| Relax.

Take a deep breath. Get a massage. Soak in the bathtub. Buy a diffuser and put drops of lavender oil in it. Do what you can to relax from a long day.

21| Mistakes can be beautiful.

Yes, everything happens for a reason. Embrace the mistake and focus on the lesson to be learned.

22| Invest in a good mattress.

You will wake up happier.

23| Start developing good financial habits early on.

Develop a savings plan or yearly financial goals until you develop good financial habits.

24| Relocate to a new place you’ve never been.

I have relocated for college, graduate school and new careers. Living in a new surrounding is a privilege worth taking if you can.

25| Grow a plant.

Plant an indoor plant, an herb garden for your kitchen or a rose bed in your backyard. When I lived in my tiny apartment, I bought a window planter and planted annual flowers every year. It feels good to plant a seed and watch it grow.

26| Create a space you love.

Create a space that is a reflection of you, that brings comfort. You’re the one that has to live there.

27| Give your undivided attention.

Sometimes, your friends or family member doesn’t want your advice. Sometimes, they just need you to listen.

28| Travel to a new place once a year.

Even if you’re just visiting the next town over. Get out and see something new in this world.

29| Travel by yourself.

It is one of the most freeings things you can do. When I travel alone, I am accountable to no one. I wake up where I want. Sightsee what I want. Eat where I want. Most importantly, I soak up the entire experience for myself.

30| Take time to read.

Whether it’s the newspaper, an online article, or a new book. Make time to read non-work related material.

31| Meditate often.

Even if it’s once a week, take time to yourself and decompressing, centering your energy.

32| Don’t ignore the red flags.

You were given intuition for a reason. Don’t ignore it.

33| You don’t have to plan everything.

I’m a capricorn. I try to plan as much as possible to a fault. I realized that spontaneity is a big part of just living.

34| Speak up.

This past year, I had to speak up for myself and others. It was the most trying experience. In the end, I realized that that is who I am. I am an advocate. I believe in justice and equality. I wouldn’t change that part of me for anything.

35| Keep your light.

I’ve decided that this year, I will stop giving my light to toxic people. These are people that do not value or respect your light, your positivity, your truth. Sometimes, your light is just too bright for undeserving people.

Dress: Kate Spade | Coat: ASOS | Shoes: Halogen AtlanticxPacific Black Suede Bow Pumps (sold out). Similar here and here | Makeup: Touched by TaylorTyler | Photography: My Affiliate Marketer