Hi there, friends!
It’s a little crazy to me that I’m turning 32 and a little crazy to look at what my reality is day to day and compare it to what I thought my life would be like at this age. I thought I’d have kids by now. I thought I’d still have my Mom around. I thought I might live somewhere new and different. I’m a little bummed that those things aren’t my reality but … happiness is a choice and a responsibility and I do my best to count my blessings. While I might not have those things, I do have some other things that I have worked hard for and am blessed by so my life is just fine the way that it is and I believe the best is yet to come.
I’ve never been one of those people who looks at their birthday on their calendar in disdain. I remember reading a quote one time regarding getting older and it has stuck with me ever since, even moreso after my Mom died.
“Never regret getting older, it’s a privilege denied to many.”
Life is a gift and age is just a number. Why not embrace where we are and love ourselves and our journey no matter what? I can understand how it can be a little daunting to look back on how many years have past and have a bit of an uneasiness about how many more are to come. Is it as many as you want? Is it coming soon? I’m sure some scary thoughts in regard to age will creep into my mind as the years go on but, for right now, I am going to embrace my age. I appreciate my past. It’s afforded me the knowledge and experience I need to approach life the way I do now and, I don’t mean to toot my own horn or anything, but I kind of like how I approach life. We’re all a work in progress and I’m actually working on a few things behind-the-scenes that I don’t so much want to share now that I hope to make some progress in throughout this year to be a better person, to approach life even better, etc. I may share more in the future but, for now, I’m excited to see what lessons are in store for my 32nd year of life!
A few weeks ago, I asked y’all to submit your preference on what my birthday post should be about. Two years ago, I shared 20 Things I Learned in My 20’s. Last year, I shared 31 Things You May Not Know About Me. So, I kind of felt stumped but was really happy to see y’all so responsive in weighing in on what this years’ post would be. Most of you wanted me to share my 32 Absolute Favorite Things. I thought I’d section these off into categories to make it a little more fun and, honestly, this likely doesn’t encompass all the things I truly love and enjoy but it’s a start!
• FAVORITE COLOR: Blue & pink are tied.
• FAVORITE MOVIE: It’s so hard to pick just one because there are so many that I love because they hold sentimental value but, I think my absolutely favorite movie is Love, Actually.
• FAVORITE FOOD: Spicy breaded chicken wings from Publix although I don’t allow myself to get them very often.
• FAVORITE SEASON: Spring! I love all of the fresh flowers, the colors of the season and that the weather is temperate.
• FAVORITE HOLIDAY: Thanksgiving because  the food and  it’s the beginning of the holiday season!
• FAVORITE SCENT: Peaches
• FAVORITE PERFUME: Versace ‘Bright Crystal’
• FAVORITE ACCESSORY: Statement earrings
• FAVORITE TRAVEL DESTINATION: London. Always.
• FAVORITE APP: Last year, I’d say – hands down – it was LastPass. I am really intentional about diversifying my passwords across different accounts online and it’s impossible to remember them all. And, if I’m honest, I get really impatient when it comes to not being able to log in to something when I really need to so LastPass saves me lots of frustration and time resetting passwords! But now … I’d say I love that my Google Drive app allows me to access photos and important files no matter where I am and with such ease! I’ve recently converted all of my files for S&T from external drives to my Google Drive and it has been an absolute game changer and, like I said, it’s amazing that I even have access to them on my phone and I can stay organized whether I’m on my laptop or not.
• FAVORITE AGE: 30. It was a year where I didn’t let fear win and I truly allowed myself to say yes to the unknown and to adventure and no to doing what everyone else is doing and chasing things that aren’t really that important. I had a level of security with myself that I don’t think I had ever felt before and it was amazing to operate on that level and be totally confident in my choices. The year certainly had it’s challenges but I learned so much during those times of stretching and often wish I could relive that year for all the beauty it possessed.
• FAVORITE SPLURGE: Typically, I splurge on cashmere but if I had to pick my favorite splurge ever … I’d say my small beige Chanel boy bag that I bought at Harrod’s in London. You can check it out in THIS post.
• FAVORITE GUILTY PLEASURE: If you’ve followed me for a little while, you probably know this about me but, I absolutely love musicals. Growing up, I kept this my little secret until High School Musical became a huge hit in college and I realized more people my age like them just as much as I do. This was one of my favorite things about living in London in 2016. I was able to see so many West End shows like Les Miserables, Matilda, Lion King, Aladdin, etc. When I was there in January, I somehow got to see Hamilton from the front row on the first main balcony, which is THE best seat in the house, in my opinion. I cried. It was completely unexpected, the result of one man’s selfless kindness and, most certainly, the perfect little cherry on top of 2017!
• FAVORITE INDULGENCE: A weekend with no plans other than couch time in lounge clothes and binge-watching a show on Netflix with my pups! There’s just something about letting myself do nothing, when I feel like I’m always gogogo, that I just love to indulge in from time to time.
• FAVORITE ACHIEVEMENT: Passing my nursing licensure exam was a huge achievement that I am extremely proud of because taking tests is not something I am very good at. Studying became so torturous for me because I had been in school for six years at that point so I was just SO. READY. to be completely done so passing that exam was an achievement that I will always be SO proud of.
• FAVORITE UNEXPECTED EXPERIENCE: You’re looking at it! I went to school to be a nurse but after I started working at the hospital, I often wondered why I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else in the nursing profession. In retrospect, I know that’s because God knew he had something else in mind. Through sharing my personal style, love for shopping, and connecting with like-minded women online, I started a blog that later, inadvertently, became a business. I love that I’m able to do what I truly love for a living. I may not know exactly what the future has in store but I am never short on assurance that I am exactly where God wants me to be.
• FAVORITE DRUG STORE BEAUTY PRODUCT: L’oreal Carbon Black Telescopic Precision Liquid Eye Liner
• FAVORITE FLOWERS: Pink garden roses
• FAVORITE COUNTRY TO VISIT: Italy
• FAVORITE POSSESSION: It’s a tie between my pups and my mothers’ urn. That might be strange but it’s the truth and I can’t help my reality … so, what can ya do?
• FAVORITE THINGS: Pajama sets, my Nespresso machine, crime-based podcasts and shows, sleep, snuggling with my pups, my bed, chips & queso, shrimp tacos, long walks, surprises, thoughtful gestures, honesty, etc.
• FAVORITE BOOK: “Love Does” by Bob Goff
• FAVORITE BIBLE VERSE: “But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus–the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.” Acts 20:24
• FAVORITE RECENT PURCHASE: Okay, I threw THESE new shorts on on Friday to go run some errands with Whitney and y’all …. they fit SO good and I’ve worn them two other times since them. I love this brand. I know I’m always going to get a great quality pair of jeans or shorts.
• FAVORITE CHARITY TO DONATE TO: America’s Vet Dogs – I believe in the power of a dogs’ love so I absolutely love that this company trains pups to be service dogs for wounded veterans that are in need of some assistance.
• FAVORITE QUOTE: ‘Don’t talk about it, be about it.’ This quote has been an answer to one of my most frequently asked questions for the longest time and is a quote that I find myself using to motivate myself to get things done.. Someone really close to me in college lived by this saying and I couldn’t help but see so much truth in it and adopted it as a quote to live by. The truth is you can talk all day long about things you want to do and places you want to see, but if you don’t put some effort behind making it happen … that’s all it’s ever going to be … an idea or an intention. You have to BE about the things you say you want in life – no one else is going to make things happen for you so don’t let fear win and get out there!
• FAVORITE SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM: Pinterest. Sure, Instagram is fun but I love Pinterest because it allows me to just zone out and pin inspiration from all different categories of my interests and, in turn, create a mood board for where I’m at in that moment.
• FAVORITE LIFE LESSON: I’m stealing this life lesson from my 20 Things I Learned in My 20’s post because it’s one of my favorite lessons that I sometimes have to remind myself of and have often encouraged other people to remember, as well:
Everyone’s life unfolds at different paces. Okay. I’m going to call myself out. I’ve been guilty, as I’m sure we all have, of making frustrated comments about what I see happening in other people’s lives on Facebook that I wish was happening in mine. “This girl is YOUNGER than me, by three years, and is pregnant with her second child. Hmm.” or “Oh, great. She’s engaged again? Must be nice to have gotten TWO rings while I’m over here wondering if I’ll ever get one!” [Those are hypothetical examples, just so you get my gist. And I’m sure there are complaints on the other side, too. “Oh, must be nice you can just up and move to Paris for a month because you WANT TO. I’ll be over here changing diapers and folding my husbands golf clothes.” Again, hypothetical.] Over the past couple of years, I’ve realized that I have a lot to be happy and excited about, just like the things that I’m seeing on Facebook are things that are happening in those peoples’ lives that they have to be happy and excited about. So, while I can’t wait to meet my handsome husband … it’s important to not let that deep desire come out and make you bitter, because there are a lot of desires that God has already brought to fruition and He’s not done working things out in your life. So, in the end, I’ve learned that it’s a healthier decision to make a conscious effort to enjoy the unique ways my story is unfolding and I encourage you to do the same in regard to yours. 🙂
So, there may only be 27 categories but I listed more than 32 of my favorite things amongst the answers 🙂 I hope this was a fun post for you guys! Let me know if you want me to add any favorites! I’d be happy to!
SALE ALERT >> SHOPBOP just launched their BUY MORE, SAVE MORE SALE! Save up to 25% off on amazing brands like Wildfox, Mara Hoffman, L*Space, AG Jeans, Free People, Tory Burch and Jeffrey Campbell with code GOBIG18! Everything in this outfit that I posted on the blog recently is on sale except the handbag, but I linked a similar one to consider that is on sale:
Fish has been experiencing some diarrhea over the past couple of days so I think I’ll be taking him in to the vet today but, if I have some time this afternoon, I’ll be sure to highlight some products I’ve recently purchased on Shopbop and put them in a post for you guys! Fingers crossed! But here are some quick faves here:
This was so much fun to read! So many lovely favourites!! I love your life motto!
I hope you’re having a wonderful Tuesday!
Loved this post! I always enjoy these type of posts the most because you feel like you can relate so much more. I really love your favorite life lesson as I’m always trying to tell myself that. Hope you have a wonderful birthday!
Stephanie | http://www.lifesslices.com
Happy belated birthday! Love to get to know the blogger behind better with such posts. Can’t wait to read more about your amazing journey.I love spring too and I’m really looking forward to it this year.
I love crime based podcasts too!! I hope you had a fabulous birthday and I loved learning more about you!
Beautiful post & happy belated birthday. ????????????????
????????LA BIJOUX BELLA ???????? | BY MIA | A Creative Lifestyle Blog
Haley! Thank you so much for taking the time to share with us. Absolutely love these types of posts and hearing your heart on serious matters as well as the fun and light stuff. Wishing you a wonderful and adventurous year 32!
Such a great idea for a post, thanks for sharing and letting us get to know you even better! Love all of these photos, you’re looking so adorable. 🙂
Happy 32nd birthday! Italy is definitely on my short list of future vacations and I really want to try out a nespresso machine. I live in the US, so Keurigs are the big trend but its very boring and bland. Nespresso seems like you get more of a coffee shop type of coffee, which is what I prefer.
Nicolette | https://nicolette.co
This was a great post!!! Thank you for so many insightful and inspiring thoughts about getting older!!
Happy 32nd birthday!!! You photos is dreaming. I happy this you! xo xo :))
Happy birthday gorgeous!! These photos look absolutely dreamy <3
You look so happy in these photos! Love the post 🙂
love your blog! we have so much in common, was fun to read your 32 fave things – quite a few are on my list as well! i adore musicals as well, if you’re ever in NYC and need a broadway or chat about London buddy, i’m in! happy birthday!!
Love this post! Happy Birthday again!!!