30 is the same 30

I am currently rolling down the backside of 29 and despite any efforts to hit the brakes, I will propel through the last six months of my twenties and crash into my third decade here on earth at full speed.  They say thirty is the new twenty, but it’s not.  No colloquial phrase (or Jay Z lyric) will ease the notion of turning 30 or the effects of aging.  It’s just a statement intended to help those nearing the milestone feel better about the transition.  Here’s how I know:

While once viewed as somewhat acceptable, it’s now selfish to be selfish.

Okay, so maybe selfishness was never encouraged, but there was a little more leeway back in the day.  Throughout our teens and early twenties, it was expected that we’d do or try things that required putting ourselves first.  These were the formative years; times when we needed to follow our own instincts and explore opportunities that would lead us to discover who we really were.  Things like spending all our money on trips with friends or taking a few years off of school to get down to the bottom of what we really wanted to do with our lives. scared timon

While we must never lose sight of doing what is best for ourselves, these days, many of us have others to look out for – whether that be children, significant others, friends or society.  We’re no longer at the age where living solely with a “me mentality” is acceptable nor excusable.

With all the miles packed on over the years, your body now requires a little more TLC to keep moving forward.

Contrary to what our bodies had us believing back in college, living off a liquid + Ramen diet is a not sustainable approach to survival.  If we’re not careful, age will offer an assist in turning us into lightweights at dinner and heavyweights on the scale.  Time will never slow down, but our metabolism will, so we must take it upon ourselves to learn about our bodies’ needs and meet its demands.  Educate yourself on the necessary nutrients and vitamins to maintain a balanced lifestyle.

The second part of the equation is exercise.  You can eat all the natural, organic, Whole Foods items you want, but without keeping your body calibrated, you’ll end up in the shop much like the way your first car from high school always was.  If you work a desk job like me and sit for 8-10 hours a day, even exercise won’t be enough.  You’ve got to get up and move, every hour on the hour, so your body doesn’t get tricked into thinking it’s destined to stay put.

Life past 11 p.m. is nearly non-existent.

Back in college, I’d be getting ready to go out at 9, pre-gaming by 10 and rolling deep with my girls downtown by 11.  These days, I’m getting ready for bed at 9, PJ’ing by 10, and rolling the in Zzz’s by 11.  When I do somehow muster up the energy to make it out to a bar, I’m quickly left wondering what’s driving me to leave faster, the obnoxious, boisterous crowd or the warmth of my covers back home.  The past few years have taught me that fun is found in many forms and doesn’t always require an elaborate plan or celebration.  These days, the best nights are the ones followed by a manageable early morning.

You’re already halfway to retirement.

Split your age in half, and you’re back in the halls of high school without a worry in the world.  Although those days seem long ago, chances are many memories are still so fresh and emotions still so vivid.  Now, double your age, and you’re almost 60.  Will you be able to look back on your 30’s with memories still so clear?

You’re one day closer today to retirement than you were yesterday, and while the picture of freedom may seem enticing, it won’t be so pleasant if you don’t have the money to fulfill your post-career aspirations.  Start saving now, don’t wait until your next big birthday milestone!

Despite the early emergence of wrinkles and the occasional white hair, loss of eyesight, rough mornings and seemingly endless responsibilities associated with thirty, turns out, the transition may not be that bad after all.  You’ve finally reached a point where all your hard work has paid off and you’ve set the foundation for yourself, your family, or your future family.  You have a deeper understanding of and appreciation for the people that helped you to where you are today.  You have the ability to make your own choices and create your own destiny.  Sure, there are a lot of tough changes that go along with aging, but each birthday we celebrate is another opportunity to change the world, or at least our own.  Bring it on, thirty.

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Heavy Metal

Today is one of those weird, warm fall days where you’re not quite sure whether to wear a dress or bundle up in a cozy sweater.  The Wear What Where October Style Challenge was enough to convince me to go with the latter.  The theme is Metallic Miss and I had the perfect necklace for the occasion.

Starting with this statement necklace as the focal point (as pretty as it is, I swear it adds 10 lbs.), I built out an outfit that accents the shimmery hues.  I purchased the necklace at Nordstrom Rack for $19.99, which is a steal for something so intricate in design.

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I found this sweater last fall at T.J. Maxx and it is easily one of my favorites, minus the itchy wool.  It was around $30, which is honestly more than I would normally spend on a sweater but also a fraction of what it would have cost in a department store.  The jeans were only $10 during T.J. Maxx’s end of season markdowns last year. Shopping hack: T.J. Maxx is offering free shipping right now if you sign up for their newsletter.

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The booties are beauties.  Retailed at $129, I picked up these Jessica Simpson taupe fringe booties at Marshalls for just $49.

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Though the temperature is supposed to rise throughout the day, it started off chilly, giving me an opportunity to break out this stunning new wool coat.  Another T.J. Maxx find, the coat was purchased for just $49 (retailed at $72).  I saw a woman trying it on and basically stalked her until she bought it down.  Have y’all ever done that before?!  It might have been slightly creepy but well worth it: )

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Return of the shoulda been returned

While I feel most in my element when wearing a sundress, I have to admit I’m glad to welcome back the season of leggings.  They are just so comfortable and with the right pairing, can be appropriate for both work and play.

For today’s ensemble I mixed a little old with a little new.  The Cynthia Rowley top was found at Marshall’s (priced at $19, retailed at $29).  The print has the slightest blend of blush and tan, lined with black.

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I bought the jacket at the beginning of last spring and after bringing it home, decided I just wasn’t in love with it.  I threw it in my trunk to return on my next trip to T.J. Maxx.  But, I am the absolute worst at returning things.  The intention is always there, but the memory is not.  So, needless to say I was a bit surprised to find the jacket when cleaning out my trunk and more surprised to find that I actually love it now.  Guess it was just meant to be! It’s a Max Jeans jacket, priced at $49 and retailed at $120.

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The leggings are Lauren Conrad for Kohls.  I’ve had them for two seasons now and even after much overuse, they’ve stood the test of time and are still in perfect condition.  I’d highly recommend her leggings but don’t jump to make the purchase; they often drop down to 50% off retail and then you can use a site like Retail Me Not to get an additional percentage off (card holders get even steeper discounts).  I bought the booties last year at Ross for just $19.99 and have seen them there on this shelves again this season!  The hat and necklace are both from H&M.

Do you have any pieces like the jacket that are a dual-threat, suitable for both spring and fall?

Grey Street

I instantly felt a twinge of regret for wishing away the summer heat over the weekend after the nighttime temperatures dipped into the 40’s. But, as someone who dresses for the season instead of the weather, at least my wardrobe is finally temperature appropriate.

I usually shy away from scarves because I find the accessory to be unflattering for my body type.  However, with cold days upon us and blanket scarves abound in the stores, this is one occasion when it’s acceptable to choose brains over beauty.

Most blanket scarves I’ve seen range from $24 and up.  This gem was just $12 at Ross and there was a huge assortment of colors to choose from.  I paired it with this cozy long-sleeve shirt from T.J. Maxx – just $16.99 (retails for $36).  The jeans (which are a little too baggy this season thanks to the intense Kayla Itsines workout regime) were only $20 last season at Target. That’s a great spot to find basic comfy denim.  The boots were only $24 at Marshall’s, in comparison to the full retail price of $50.

I’ll admit I was at a loss on how to style a blanket scarf because they are HUGE! When in doubt, I turn to YouTube and found the blog Extra Petite to be a helpful how-to resource.

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My coat could only come off for a few minutes in this frigid air, just long enough to snap the shot. Despite living in the South, winter coats are my downfall. At last count, I had 80 jackets but it’s so easy to forget about them when they’re packed away so I keep adding to the collection. The newest addition is this light gray Jessica Simpson coat. It was only $69 at T.J. Maxx (retails for $140).

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The sleeves are the best part. The coat has slots for your thumbs to keep hands warm, especially during the early part of the cold season when you’re not quite ready to break out the gloves.

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The color of the scarf pairs well with the coat but there’s also a hood in case things get really chilly.

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Can’t wait to share more fall fashion finds with you all soon!

Friendships: the ones that last a lifetime, are the rare kind.

I remember spending hours perusing quotes as a teenager, hoping to find one that I spoke to me on some deep level that I could add to the then modern day version of a blog, my AIM profile.  Quotes about life, love and everything in between filled the small one-pager, amidst a multitude of random colors, font combos, squiggly asterisks and numerical word substitutions (insert:~*babii CC: 2 cute 2 be 4got10*~).

Back then, one of those quotes, “It’s not where you are but who you’re with that matters,” would have been followed up by initials of my closest friends, some of whom I am still fortunate enough to have in my life.  Unbeknownst to my teenaged, pimple-faced self, those words would still hold true, all these years later.

I recently had the privilege to stand by my best friend’s side as she married the love of her life.  The past two years since their engagement have been leading up to the memorable day but as I boarded that plane for the trip back south, a wave of emotion, twenty years in the making, hit me harder than the open bar.

True friendships, the ones that last a lifetime, are the rare kind.  I am so grateful for the relationships I’ve had since my early days, as well as for the ones built along the way.  Although not one to cry, I absolutely lost it sitting in the airport as I prepared to venture back South of the Dixie.  Spending a series of days with friends, family, and those that feel like family momentarily tricked me into thinking I missed the place I called home for the majority of my life.  The memories and bonds made in that town have always been, and will always be, with me wherever I am.  But while the scenery still looks (somewhat) familiar, and the experiences feel the same, everything is so different.  People have moved away, and lives have moved on, but this one weekend, with everyone back together, reminded me of the life and people that helped turn me into the person I am today.  I don’t miss “home,” I miss the feeling of content felt during the days in that place: the same as I experienced in the days of carefully crafted AIM away messages.

Life changes rapidly and we experience different milestones at varying times.   However, it’s those milestones that always bring us back together with our closest, far away friends.  Though easy to get caught in the tide, trips back to proverbial house that built me have a way of grounding me and reminding me of how fortunate I am – for the friends, family and experiences I’ve had, or maintained, throughout this journey through life.  And for that, I will be forever grateful – for the memories and the moments.  And for those I’m with, physically or in spirt, no matter where they may be.

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