on turning 31... and finally learning to "stop and smell the roses"

Have you ever just sat and thought to yourself... wow, this is my life. Actually, I just stopped to reflect what is happening {"stop and smell the roses", as my mom always tells me}... I've been doing that a lot lately, probably because I just celebrated my 31st birthday. I feel like the past 5 years have served to give me everything I'd ever hoped for in my life... and I kinda can't believe it. 

My advice {to you... and myself} after turning 31:

LIFE: ...this is a time in life where I'm starting to really appreciate the little things and realizing they are what make up this big picture we call "life". It all started with getting a dream job with one of my besties which has lead me on this crazy journey the past 5 years has given me. From moving to Boston and meeting my one true love, to the tight tight hugs from a tiny body that only a mother knows {who knew?!} my life has been flipped turned upside down {as the fresh prince would say} and moving so quickly... I've grown to understand that life is actually comprised 80% with 'the little things'... and then there are a few (20%) game changers sprinkled in... and that is what has really shaped my life thus far. Take the time... to listen, to talk, to help others... slow down and take time to stop and smell the roses.  

LOVE: everyone asks as soon as you get married "has anything changed?"... well not immediately, but with every revolution comes the slow adjustment period... where you adjust into an even stronger bond than you had before. You grow into each other and with each other... mostly because that's the person you love to be around the most. If you decide to become a parent, well, god bless ya & know that this will (seemingly) strengthen any healthy relationship... You will have a new found respect for one another that you never knew could exist...

TIME: time is more valuable than money... something I always sorta knew but is constantly being reinforced. Time with family and friends, time alone to reflect, time spent doing what you love or time spent growing (which is sometimes painful)... With the addition of a child in my life, I've learned that my time is more valuable now than ever before!

MOTHERHOOD: Listen. Nobodies the "perfect" mother... what does that mean anyway? Just do the best you can and listen to your own heart and not what people tell you. You know more than you think you do! Babies don't need all the toys in the store and every marketed product for "learning". What they need is love (& guidance) from mom and dad.

PHOTOGRAPHY: I started calling it "a job" and I am now refraining myself to have that mindset. I do photography because it's what I'm passionate about. I've realized that too much equipment will weigh you down, keep it manageable and be resourceful.  Most importantly, in the age of digital don't get carried away with too many images or photoshop! Get it right 'in camera' above all else and GET IT PRINTED!

SOCIAL LIFE: It kinda dies down after you have a little one... lets face it. That's ok though because it makes "going out" that much sweeter and you appreciate going out to eat so much more! It's important to stay off your phone when you're with your friends and family... just put it away, spend the time with the people who are in front of your face! catch up with people online/ social media when you're just sitting around "bored"... If you don't have time for it, so be it. Throw parties with your friends, actually book the plane ticket to fly & see a friend, that 20% of game changer gets juiced from doing something for yourself once in a while. My point is, take the time to strengthen relationships OUTSIDE of social media. And last but not least, IT IS OK TO TALK TO STRANGERS... at this point in your life I think you know people are (for the most part) nice to you when you're nice to them.

So hide your phone away right now and go call a friend or snuggle up with your love!