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project 30- alicia

22 Mar

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Alicia, 38

What would your 30 something self tell your 20 something self if you could?

Follow your bliss. I was too caught up in making money and following a path to securing an executive position in the fashion/publishing industry. Money isn’t everything and if you are doing something you love then the money will come.

What do you wish you took more seriously in your 20’s?

Enjoying life, being young and free. Don’t get me wrong, my 20’s were a wild ride but I was so focused on my career that I wasn’t being true to myself. I moved to NYC from San Francisco when I was 22 years old, landed a job at Jane magazine doing marketing and events and was determined to become a power player.

What do you wish you took less seriously in your 20’s?

I wish I wasn’t so hard on myself after I dropped out of college. I was worried I’d never find a job because I didn’t have a college degree and was nervous about entering the workforce. Thankfully, my Dad constantly reminded me that many successful people never finished college or even high school and went on to do great things.

Favorite memory from your 20’s?

Hands down moving to NYC. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I really grew up and became who I am today because of it. I recently moved to LA after being there for the past 15 years, which is the longest place I’ve ever lived. Now that I’ve been in LA for almost a year now, I realized I’m more of a New Yorker than I thought and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

In your early 20’s where did you think you would be (work, live etc) by 30?

I thought I would be married with two, maybe three children. Living in NYC and having a house by the beach.

And where were you by 30? What did your life look like? 

I was not married but in a long-term relationship living in NYC. Traveling a lot both professionally and personally.
I took the leap of faith and started consulting after having a pretty successful career working at various magazines and fashion brands. I was really proud of what I had accomplished up until that point. I worked on some incredible high-profile projects and met some amazing people along the way. To this day, a majority of them are now dear friends.

Were you ever worried that it wouldn’t all fall into place?

Yes, all the time! I still worry about that now even being 38 years young. I see myself as a work in progress and I always want to challenge myself to do more. Life is a beautiful gift and I never want take it for granted.

What is the greatest gift about being a woman in your 30’s?

Discovering the value of self-love. Sure I “liked” myself enough but didn’t realize the importance of loving myself until my long-term relationship ended. I went to Rome by myself after the break-up to have my own Eat, Pray, Love experience and not only did I eat and pray A LOT but I realized how vital it is to love and nurture yourself. This was something I had neglected for so many years.

When you look out onto the horizon what do you hope your life looks like at 40?

Being happy and at peace with where I’m at in my life. I hope to have children, travel the globe and give back in some way.

What’s a quote/ saying you try to live your life by?

Follow your bliss. This is my mantra and my daily reminder to push myself to always do more.

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project 30- alex

10 Dec

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Alex, 33

What would your 30 something self tell your 20 something self if you could?

I would tell myself that everything has worked out, and that it’s ok to be fearless.

What do you wish you had taken more seriously in your 20’s?

Not much! I’m glad I didn’t take life as seriously then as I do now. It was the time in my life when I could just float; Live for my passion and see where I landed. I appreciate that I left no stone unturned and traveled as much as I could; as it opened up my mind and soul to the person I am today. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to fully immerse myself in the beautiful culture and daily life of Italy for over 8 years. As a result, some of the most important people in my life are from all over the world. It’s not for everyone, but boy, was it sure for me.

What do you wish you had taken less seriously in your 20’s?

I wish I hadn’t spent so much time being so concerned with the future and worrying about the unknown.

Favorite memory from your 20’s?

Of course, it has to be living in Italy! Enjoying the fruits of life and living it to it’s fullest. Waking up and walking out my front door to work, the outdoor markets, the piazzas, etc. The world was my oyster, everyday. I adored being able to jump on a train and go anywhere in Europe for the weekend, or even just for the day!

In your early 20’s where did you think you would be (work, live, etc.) by 30?

I was pretty sure I would be working in Valentino’s Atelier in Rome with some friends, or moving to Sardinia and developing a line to show at Paris Fashion Week.

And where were you by 30? What did your life look like?

I moved back to Los Angeles. Opened a shoe store on the Venice Beach Boardwalk. Started my own company. Became the Senior Designer and Head of Production of two high-end women’s-wear lines. Helped to successfully build several fashion brands from the ground up. Traveled to New York and Paris Fashion Weeks. Working A LOT.

Were you ever worried that it wouldn’t all fall into place?

Absolutely. I had my concerns for the future in general. But my parents lived for what they love. And somehow I wasn’t scared to float like a feather, as long as I was following my passion, even with $3 in my bank account.

What is the greatest gift about being a woman in your 30’s?

Self-realization, acceptance, and love. The experience to learn from your life and the confidence to believe in yourself is pretty powerful. And for me, learning what love truly means was one of the greatest gifts of all. In my 20’s, I was the classic strong, independent, American girl. In my 30’s, I learned to trust fall backwards into the arms of someone who I can depend on to never let me fall. I also learned to grow stronger as a team than I ever could standing alone.

When you look out onto the horizon, what do you hope your life looks like at 40?

I’m hoping that I can successfully juggle all the balls of family, work, physical fitness and personal joys. Honestly, Kate, it’s truly been so inspiring for me to simply stop and take a moment to ponder, and take a sip of my own life! All I can do is think positively about the future, and my path will become clear. “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.  Live the life you have imagined.” – Henry David Thoreau

What’s a quote/saying you try to live your life by?

“Seize the day. This is your life.”
This is a quote that I see on my keychain daily.

Personally, I gain an incredible amount of positive inspiration from quotes that I find all around me, and I often put one up on my door to remind myself of whatever I might need to take away in that moment. I’ll leave some of my favorites in hopes to inspire.

“Everything changes, and usually rather quickly.” – Kate Glodney
“Build your own dreams, or someone else will hire you to build theirs.” –Farrah Gray
“Confidence is the sexiest thing a woman can wear.”- Ritu Ghatourey
“Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.” –Gloria Steinem
“Maybe the reason why all the doors are closed,
is so you could open one that leads you down the perfect road.” – Katy Perry
“Letting go is the scariest and most liberating thing you can do for yourself.
It’s a gift in disguise.” – Jen Nicomedes
“The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” –Steve Jobs
“Fame is fleeting. Perfection is forever.” – Patron Tequila
“You have to fall in love with the process of becoming great.” – Jeff Capel
“I don’t embrace excuses. I embrace solutions.” – John Taffer
“Tomorrow is not guaranteed.” – Anonymous
“It’s never too late to be who you might have been.” – George Eliot
“So little can yield so much. A new perspective…changes everything.” – Anonymous
“Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.” –Dalai Lama
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!” – Hunter S. Thompson

 

project 30 – liz

14 Jul

 

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Liz, 30 / Hott Sauce

What would your 30 something self tell your 20 something self if you could?

It’s going to turn out even better than you could imagine.

What do you wish you took more seriously in your 20’s?

My finances! I racked up a lot of credit card debt and paid absolutely no attention to things like my 401K, health insurance and savings. And I have no idea where all the money went. I wish I’d made some more responsible long-term financial decisions.

And my writing. I’ve always enjoyed writing but feel like I’m just now beginning to trust and believe that my voice is worth being heard. I sometimes fear I missed my window of opportunity.

But hey! My childhood idol Laura Ingalls Wilder wasn’t published until she was in her sixties so there’s hope for us all!

What do you wish you took less seriously in your 20’s?

Oh lawd. Basically everything else! I have spent (and, I’ll be real, continue to spend) SO MUCH energy stressing over my career, friendships, boys, family, body image, health, the works. If it’s a thing, I’ve panicked over it at least once. I spent most of my 20’s thinking two steps ahead trying to plan for what might come next. I wish I had slowed down and enjoyed every step of the way for what it was.

Favorite memory from your 20’s?

If I had to pick just one, I’d of course pick marrying my husband – snuck that milestone in right under the 3-0 wire just three weeks before my birthday. Nailed it. Brian is the best, full stop. Every day we spend together is the coolest, funnest, grandest adventure, but declaring our vows in front of our nearest and dearest was in its own sphere of amazing.

But really, I think when I look back what I’ll always associate with my 20’s is not one particular memory, but a whole collection of experiences gained living in New York. Working for my terrifying boss and having weird roommates and mice (ew) and drunkenly running around the East Village and never having enough money and figuring out the subway system and being surrounded by so much diversity and culture and general overstimulation. It’s such a singular, wild and intense place and I feel so much of my 20’s decade has been defined against this backdrop. It’s not for everyone but I’m so happy I’ve lived here. I can’t imagine spending these formative years anywhere else.

I do have one image that stands out, I was riding the D train from my job in Manhattan to my apartment in Brooklyn, just a few weeks after moving into the city which means I was 22 or just freshly 23. This train line goes across a bridge over the East River. As we came up from the tunnel it was that perfect time of day, the golden hour, and the sun was low and shimmery on the water, slipping down behind the tall buildings of lower Manhattan and I just sort of drank it all in, the bridges and the river, Brooklyn ahead of me and the famous New York City skyline behind me and it sounds a little cheesy but in that moment I realized this was my life! I was where I wanted to be and I was so happy.

It sounds so cheesy but sometimes I’ll get a moment like that again, I’ll be zipping along in a taxi or rushing to meet a friend somewhere and catch a glimpse of some building or person or smell from a food cart and suddenly be overwhelmed with gratitude and think “This is your life! Your whole, real life. Remember this!!”

In your early 20’s where did you think you would be (work, live etc) by 30?

I thought I’d be in PR or an event planner, living in New York City in an apartment with a lot of chic exposed brick.

And where were you by 30? What did your life look like?

Living in New York City (check!) working as a publicist for a major national publishing house (this marries PR and events with my other true love, books, so check anddd check), in an apartment with several weird chandeliers but sadly no exposed brick. No washer/dryer, AC or dishwasher, either. Why do I love this city so much again?

I feel like I ought to be paying Kate big bucks for therapy (Kate, do you take Blue Cross Blue Shield?!) because it took me sitting down to answer this blog Q&A to force me to pause, look around and realize…I’m kind of right where I always wanted to be.

Life is not perfect, by any stretch of the imagination. There are many experiences I’ve had I wish I could erase or things I’m going through now I wish I could change but overall, I’m like, MAKING IT HAPPEN. And so many things, as I said above, are even better than I could have imagined. I’m married to the most amazing guy and I have great friends and I’m well-respected at my job. I run and cook and have finally figured out how to style my hair (Another thing I’d tell my 20-year-old self: put down the box dye, girl.) and I have this brand new sweet baby niece and feel like I’m closer to my family than ever.

So why am I always think I’m never quite enough?

Hence owing Kate those big bucks. Guys, I am right now having an epiphany. Live on national, um, internet. So if you had to ask me what I would tell my 30-year, 10ish-month-old self it would be stop being so hard on yourself, you’re doing great.

(Fellow worry-warts and self-critics reading this, pause right now, sit down and take stock. I bet you’re doing a lot better than you think you are! I think you’re great.)

Were you ever worried that it wouldn’t all fall into place?

Um, literally all the time. See everything else I’ve already said. Worrying is my #1 hobby.

What is the greatest gift about being a woman in your 30’s?

An overall confidence and sense of self. No longer feeling the need to listen to “cool” bands because some dude likes them or stay out late drinking because I don’t want to feel left out or pretend to have read all the smartest literature or follow fashion trends. Like, crop tops? Hell no.

I have a better sense of what I like, what I want and who I am. And I think I have a better sense of who and what matters. I don’t want to say I care less what people think about me at 30 than I did at 20 because I do still care how I am perceived, but now I’m getting a little bit better at identifying, you know “is this person’s opinion of value? Will it help me to become a better person or truer version of myself?” and if yes, I’ll try to listen and learn. And if no, well, fuck ’em.

Ok, I’m not always the best at that last one but I think the 30’s are all about learning how to let the unimportant stuff slide.

When you look out onto the horizon. What do you hope your life looks like at 40?

You know what, I’m not even going to think about where I might be at 40. As previously revealed I have a bit of, um, a habit (slash problem) of worrying how things will turn out and then freaking out when they don’t go according to my plan. In the past I always knew the broad strokes, at least, of how I wanted my life to look: first college than a year abroad then NYC. Through work or luck or who knows what it has, so far, more or less fallen into place. And I am full of gratitude for all of the good and bad and medium things that have brought me to where I am today.

But I find myself for the first time unsure of exactly what I want my future to look like. I know I hope to have children and take exciting trips and continue to challenge myself creatively, physically and intellectually and still be head over heels for my fella 10, 20, a million years into the future. But there are so many questions without easy answers and factors out of my control. When do we have children? How many? What if I can’t get pregnant or end up with quintuplets? Will I stay in publishing or look to start a new career? Will we live in the city or move to (shudder) the suburbs? How will we afford all the things we hope to see and do and experience?

And on and on.

I’m making a conscious effort to S-L-O-W D-O-W-N and stop trying to plan the future. I want to really be present in the now and take and embrace every new challenge and opportunity as they arise. I’m learning — yes, at an oh so glacial pace, but I AM learning — to live with uncertainty.

So I’ll just say that wherever I land at 40, whatever it looks like, I just hope I’m happy and healthy and at peace with all I’ve done and all that’s yet to come.

Also I would not be mad if this place of zenlike self-realization happened to come with an in-unit washer and dryer. I feel like that’s not too much to ask?

What’s a quote/ saying you try to live your life by?

“Shake it off.” – Taylor Swift

(I wish that was a joke, ha!)

connect with Liz

 blog / instagram @lizho914 / Facebook 

project 30 – liz

18 Jun

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Liz, 40 / be love live

What would your 30 something self tell your 20 something self if you could?

Well, let me start off by admitting that I am actually 40, so I’ve made it through my 20s and my 30s. And I am all the better for the amazing, beautiful journey that it has been! I’m going to try to do a little time traveling back to my 30 something year old brain, but just know that everything that I share from here on out is from a 40-year-old perspective. And, this 40-year-old perspective is oh so different from my 30-year-old perspective!

So many people are frightened of hitting the big 3-0. I was not one of them. However, I was freaked out, having a hard time wrapping my mind around the fact that I’d soon be leaving my 20s, unable to grasp the idea that I was going to be 30. A real adult, or so I thought. Still, I looked forward to turning 30. I was hoping that it would be “my decade”. And you know what? It totally was! (So far, at least!) In my 30s, I came into myself. I found the courage + strength to live life on my terms. I accepted and loved myself in ways that my 20 something self only dreamed of. I took the time to discover my own path, leaving the pressures and expectations of society behind.

I quit my stable job. Got divorced. Moved to Europe. And embarked on an incredibly freeing journey of learning to live an authentic life.

What do you wish you took more seriously in your 20’s?

Oh, how i wish I had taken my soul more seriously. I wish that I had listened to my intuition more and let the voices of others fall by the wayside. I have always been drawn to a life propelled and inspired by the inner world of our spirit. In my 20s, my heart and soul were all but screaming at me to just be true to myself, but I kept telling myself that my mystic, hermit ways made me a boring person. But, what I really wanted to do was simply enjoy the magic of being married to my husband, roaming the world together, living simply, having adventures, inspiring others through my words and pictures (not my husband’s dreams, mind you). I didn’t want a typical life – I craved something different. I craved the freedom of a gypsy soul.

But, I just couldn’t live like that. I was nowhere near secure enough to understand the seriousness of living life from your soul. I heard and felt the rumblings from within, but I just couldn’t set myself free quite yet.

What do you wish you took less seriously in your 20’s?

I wish that I had taken my expectations less seriously. I wanted to make everyone around me happy. I truly believed back then that, if everyone in my life was happy and content, then I would be. And, in some ways I was. Ignorance was bliss.

So, life in my 20s was a crazy balancing act. I felt the call to live life authentically, to be free to be me; and yet, I didn’t heed the call. Instead I felt self-induced pressure to be more “normal”. I went through roller-coaster periods of feeling blissfully happy with my marriage, my stable job, and my small town life. I even dreamed of starting a family. And then, after some time, the urge to wander + roam the world, the urge to pack it all up and become a desert hermit in order to give my soul the attention that it needed, took over. I teetered back and forth between these two extremes all throughout my 20s, certain that I had to choose one over the other.

Until I hit my 30s. And then, I began to truly listen. And I found, with lots of help from friends, mentors, counselors, and graduate professors, the courage to act. I didn’t have to choose between married life and a monastic, pilgrim’s life. I just had to choose my life.

Favorite memory from your 20’s?

I am going to answer this question stream-of-consciously because I cannot remember a specific memory. Or, rather, I can remember so many different moments.

All of the memories that are coming to mind have a few something in common: they involve travel. Like the time my ex-husband and I drove across the country in our silver Toyota Four Runner, sleeping in the back, exploring the vast, beautiful country from coast to coast. Standing in the Painted Desert, feeling connected to the entire Universe. Dipping my toes in the Pacific Ocean. Waking up on the Oregon coastline. Camping under the mountains in Glacier National Park. Photographing a buffalo in Yellowstone. Driving on two lane roads through barren, sky-filled South Dakota.

I am certain that this trip symbolized the freedom that I was so desperately seeking (not freedom from my life, but freedom from within).

Amazingly, I had the opportunity to make the coast to coast trip again about 5 years ago, when I was 35. This time, on my honeymoon with my Swedish wife. Wink.Wink.

In your early 20’s where did you think you would be (work, live etc) by 30?

In my early 20s, I thought that I would move to Europe and have a job that involved helping others. I desperately wanted to make a difference in the world – I knew that I was here to do that. And, I even more desperately wanted to live in Europe, perhaps even working as a retreat leader for people, while writing books and teaching classes. I could visit bakeries, walk everywhere, and travel the world. I ‘d live with the guy I’d met in Denmark as a young 21-year-old, and I was determined to find anything that would help me get to Denmark to live with him and share the European life that I had been dreaming of. I just knew that, even if it didn’t work out with him (and it didn’t), that I’d still find myself living somewhere different, working as a counselor/teacher/writer. Those were my dreams.

When that relationship ended, I saw my chance to move to Denmark fade away. But, I still felt passionate about travel and other cultures and making a difference. So, I thought I’d be a missionary. But, many people in my life didn’t think that was a safe/smart/good idea, so I decided to set all of those dreams aside and settle down – not at all what I dreamed that I would be doing at 30. But, exactly how I found myself living when I turned 30. Married. Stable job. Happy. Yet restless.

And where were you by 30? What did your life look like?

As I indicated in the previous question, my life was not the dreamy, romantic adventure I had hoped for. It was a good life, though. And, one that I now understand was necessary in order to do some more soul-searching.

At 30, I had been married for seven years to a good man. We lived in a small town in the mountains of North Carolina, in a beautiful cottage about 5 minutes from the church where I worked as a minister and counselor. I had followed through on my dream to work in a helping profession, and it was a job that allowed me to travel and explore, taking young people and other adults with me. It was beautiful, wonderful work – guiding and mentoring others on their own journey through life. Writing and teaching and sharing very special moments with others. I was honored to have this job that I loved.

Still, I wanted more. I yearned for more. I wanted to go to graduate school. And, perhaps, I wanted a family. And I still wanted to move to some place different to experience another way of life. But, I had no idea how to do any of those things. At 30 I was still dreaming, but not quite ready to let myself fulfill my own dreams.

Were you ever worried that it wouldn’t all fall into place?

Hell yes. Everything about my 20s felt panicky. Like I had to have “it” all figured out. Like there was some race I was running. Against who, I have no idea. I worked hard to make things happen, things that never did happen either because I got scared of following my heart when others didn’t agree or the stars just weren’t lined up right. But, I absolutely thought that things should be done when I thought they should be done. The 20s was a scary decade. A miscarriage, an unfaithful husband, and the inability to claim the life that I dreamed of made my dreams all feel impossible. So, perhaps the only thing I learned that I could control was deciding to help others – to put everyone else before me. I wanted to control. I was terrified of the unknown.

But, oh how I have learned to live differently in my 30s. I learned to love the unknown.

Life is a process that we create. We are active, and yet we just let it unfold. Most importantly, we must stay true to ourselves. Because, when we tap into our souls and live from them, then the life that unfolds before us may not look at all like what we planned, but is pretty much always way more beautiful + amazing than we ever could have imagined.

Yes, our days are numbered. And we are not guaranteed tomorrow. So, the best thing to do is to just be. To simply be present. Right here. Right now. To give it time. To stay true + open + aware. We are creating our own lives with every single moment. And, everything falls into place in its own time. We can’t understand or predict it, but we can trust and breathe and soak up the life that we live. And, in time, it all makes sense.

My 40-year-old self, tells my 20 something self to relax a bit. And my 40-year-old self tells my 30 something self to keep on discovering and listening and being.

What is the greatest gift about being a woman in your 30’s?

For me, the greatest gift of being in my 30s was claiming my life as my own. I learned to listen to my soul and to say “F*ck it!” to the expectations to be anything but who I truly am. And by learning to put being before doing, I found a deep level of inner peace that I had been searching for. From that peace, I took risks. I found courage. I changed my life.

I went to graduate school. I traveled to Europe again. I divorced my ex-husband. I quit my job. I sold my things. I took off to live in Denmark. I fell in love – with a woman. I re-married. I moved to Sweden. I left the church. I began writing. I found myself.

The greatest gift that I received in my 30s was freedom. The freedom to simply be me.

When you look out onto the horizon. What do you hope your life looks like at 40?

As you know by now, I have already crossed over this horizon; but I am a mere 40 something baby, since I just turned 40 a few months ago. I can say that, as a woman in my 30s, I did not have anything specific that I was aiming for by the time I turned 40. I was still coming into my own all the way up until then (and still am now). And I don’t make those kinds of plans anymore. I am much slower and much more in the present moment these days.

Not that I don’t have dreams and goals. Oh yes, I do. And they are out there on my 50 year old horizon. They inspire me and help to keep me aligned to my true self.

In my 40s, I hope to continue to evolve and transform. I hope to find even more peace. And I hope to begin to make a shift from learning (which I did in my thirties) to teaching and guiding. I want to continue to travel and write and photograph. I am currently writing my first book – a memoir that tells my story from my divorce to my 40th year. But my biggest, most practical goal hanging out there in the future is to shift all of this into a business. I’m not a business person at all, but I have to trust that things will unfold as time passes.

What’s a quote/ saying you try to live your life by?

My blog is titled “be|love|live” because these are the ways that I discovered how to live an authentic life in my 30s, how to be true to who I am and to make a difference in the world. So, I’ll leave you with my three of my favorite quotes:

BE: “At the center of your being, you have the answer. You know who you are and you know what you want.” – Lao Tau

LOVE: “You can kiss your family and friends good-bye and put miles between you, but at the same time you carry them with you in your heart, your mind, your stomach, because you do not just live in a world but a world lives in you.” – Frederick Buechner

LIVE: “Following your bliss is not self-indulgent, but vital; your whole physical system knows that this is the way to be alive in this world and the way to give to the world the very best that you have to offer. There is a track just waiting for each of us and once on it, doors will open that were not open before and would not open for anyone else.” – Joseph Campbell

My 40-year-old self has learned a lot. And has a lot still to learn. Though I have advice for my 20 something + 30 something selves, I am thankful for how they have led me to exactly where I am right now. Do I wish I had known more back then? Maybe. But, maybe not. Because it’s all part of the beautiful journey of life.

And somewhere along the way I finally listened to my soul. I took one risk after another, afraid of losing it all at one time. But, I listened. And my soul sang for me. And here I am. Just me. There’s no use trying to be anything else. We all have been created to be exactly who we are, the challenge is to find the courage + the strength + the craziness to listen to that inner voice, telling us to just be…. well, us.

connect with the lovely Liz / blog / instagram: @belovelivephotography / facebook: Be Love Live

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project 30 – jessica

4 Jun

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Jessica, 30 / owner of Cotton Rainbow

What would your 30 something self tell your 20 something self if you could?

Things happen for a reason. Be patient because when it is right, it will happen.

What do you wish you took more seriously in your 20’s?

My friendships. I lived my life like a spinning top, moving from one new thing to another. I didn’t really stop to appreciate what was in front of me and really work to make those friendships thrive.

What do you wish you took less seriously in your 20’s?

Figuring out what was next. I wish I just sat back and enjoyed the ride.

Favorite memory from your 20’s?
Having my daughter Ella. It was the most incredible day of my life. I have never in my life felt more alive.

In your early 20’s where did you think you would be (work, live etc) by 30?

I thought I would be a successful event planner who had it all. I thought I would be married with a few children and be totally financially stable . I would have the perfect work/life balance and have it all!

And where were you by 30? What did your life look like?

I am exactly where I should be. I turned 30 with my husband Eric and my daughter Ella and my 2 dogs. I am a co-owner of my own business Cotton Rainbow, a children’s gear company. I love being a mom. My road to having a baby was extremely difficult and not one that I would have ever imagined. Looking back, I now realize that it happened for a reason.

Were you ever worried that it wouldn’t all fall into place?

Absolutely! Doesn’t everyone?

What is the greatest gift about being a woman in your 30’s?

Perspective. I have not been 30 for long (yep, a whole month) but I can honestly say that my 20’s were all about the journey.

When you look out onto the horizon. What do you hope your life looks like at 40?

I envision having another child and my business being super successful. I hope to have multiple people working for Cotton Rainbow. I want the office to be super baby and dog friendly and will allow my employees to have a great work/life balance. I hope to have traveled with Eric and Ella. I am so excited to watch Ella grow, learn and discover the world.

What’s a quote/ saying you try to live your life by?

“Treat no one lightly and think nothing is useless, for everyone has one’s moment and everything has its place.” – Pirkei Avot

connect with Jessica / instagram @cotton_rainbow / Facebook / twitter /

project 30 – angela

13 Mar

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Angela, 36

What would your 30 something self tell your 20 something self if you could?

Love yourself. Love yourself. Just the way you are. You are 110% perfect in the most beautifully imperfect way. No matter how perfect someone else’s life may seem to the outside world, we are all just a work in progress. Love yourself and trust your heart – no matter what!

What do you wish you took more seriously in your 20’s?

Financial planning, savings, and investments. In my early/mid 20’s I was married supporting my husband in his career. In my later 20’s I was single and determined to discover myself, and my true path in life. Looking back I was just running towards or away from things. I trusted too much that everything would work itself out in the end. It usually does, but things could have worked themselves out more in my favor had I been more present in ‘the now’ while running towards my tomorrow.

What do you wish you took less seriously in your 20’s?

I wish I had of embraced my inner-rebel a lot more in my 20’s, and teens even. I was very much “the good girl.” When push comes to shove I’ve always followed my heart, but in a lot of ways some of the choices I made in my 20’s were from fear of not being accepted or loved. I think that’s the greatest blessing of being a woman in your 30’s is that you start to care less and less about what other people think. At least it’s been true for me. I wish I had of cared less about what people thought of me and made more mistakes. Not the stupid and reckless kind of mistakes (like drugs & sex) but more of the academic, fitness, entrepreneurship, and everything investing in me kind of mistakes. I would have rather failed big then than the now of looking back and having not tried from fear of what other people thought of me. I wish I had of risked failing at some things on a bigger scale.

Favorite memory from your 20’s?

A lot of people don’t know this about me, but in my early/mid 20’s I was married and a mom. I’m a different woman now with different goals, and am totally happy with my life in a different kind of way. In my 20’s though I was really happy in the role of mom. Even today, thinking about moments, it makes me smile and my eyes fill up with tears (the heart warming kind). The best moments in my 20’s all include my favorite little blonde haired blue-eyed boy; word games in the grocery store, playing in the mud, sock ball fights, hide-n-seek, or snuggling on the couch to watch cartoons. Even to this day I haven’t forgotten the smell of his hair and I can still hear the sweetest words [I believe] anyone can ever hear, “Mommy, I love you.”

I’ve changed so much since then. So many things have happened, but without a doubt being a mom was the best part of my 20’s.

In your early 20’s where did you think you would be (work, live etc) by 30?

In my early and mid 20’s I was supporting the career of my husband. I honestly thought I would be married in my 30’s (naturally) and where I lived wasn’t something that crossed my mind too much because then I felt that my home was with my family, no matter where we lived. I’ve always had an entrepreneurial heart, so even in my early 20’s I was still very passionate about building a successful business. I saw myself in my 30’s running a start-up or agency of sorts. Looking back though, I can see now that I needed to go through some major life changes and experiences before I could really know who I was or what gifts and talents I had to share.

And where were you by 30? What did your life look like?

At 30 I was living in Los Angeles, CA (and that is where we met :-). I spent my late 20’s and the beginning of my 30’s doing a lot of healing in L.A. I was really blessed to have met three phenomenal people there and they played a huge role in me becoming who I am today. In my 30’s I had the opportunity to spend moments around a lot of really successful and inspiring people. This and working with one of the most sought after personal development coaches took my belief system of what life had to offer to an entirely new level. My perspective, my bubble of what the world looked like burst open in my 30’s and I started to really believe in myself for the first time. As I’m saying this, it sounds like something dramatically life changing happened then, but it was the opposite. I worked all the time. I was quiet a lot. I asked questions. I listened. I paid attention. I believe there are times in life when you need to be in the spotlight (to share your gifts) and then there are times when you need to be behind-the-scenes (to learn lessons). Those were my behind-the-scenes years and I didn’t waist a single moment. It was all a learning experience and I’ll forever feel indebted to the universe for those opportunities.

Were you ever worried that it wouldn’t all fall into place?

(Laughing) I’m still a little worried. Well, in some ways. I didn’t figure out whole-heartedly what I wanted to do with my life until around 33. I’m 36 now. I had a lot of life obstacles in my 20’s that were unexpected and very challenging especially considering my age. In some ways they set me back externally, but they pushed me forward internally. I hope that makes sense. I’m still a work in progress though even in my 30’s, and I love it! 

What is the greatest gift about being a woman in your 30’s?

I think the whole package of knowing who you are, knowing what you want, and feeling more comfortable in your own skin makes everything about life more enjoyable in your 30’s.

When you look out onto the horizon. What do you hope your life looks like at 40?

2013 and 2014 I spent building the foundation on a few of my projects and spending a lot of time going through the motions of everyday life. 2015 I want to begin living my life on purpose again. I want to travel more, write more, and experience more. I want to have more compassion, empathy and understanding for myself and in my relationships. I want to take things to the next level in those regards. I want to work on being in the now, to create and carry a more whole and balanced ‘me’ into my 40’s (which is just three and a half years a way… yikes!!).

What’s a quote/ saying you try to live your life by?

My mom use to say, “This too shall pass.”

When I was little and a teenager I thought that this saying only applied to the tough moments in life; like when I would scrape a knee or when a boy had broken my heart.

In my mid 20’s I realized it meant something very different (at least to me the meaning dramatically changed).

During that time my mom had been diagnosed terminally ill with cancer, given 4-6 months to live, and was spending the last months of her life with us (me – her only daughter, son-in-law, and grandson).

It was in those months I began to realize how precious a moment was.

Excruciating at times to watch my mom experience so much pain and loose herself to tumors, every last moment was still a blessing. It was a blessing because it was one more moment I got to spend with her.

Our time on earth isn’t guaranteed. It doesn’t belong to us. We don’t own it. Every moment is a gift and we are just the managers of the time we’re given.

I think of, “this too shall pass,” constantly. It helped me get through that time of my life, be more present, and stay grateful.

It’s not about being positive all of the time and ignoring the pain in a situation, but instead knowing that no matter what happens I’m the manager of this moment, of how I want to look at the situation in front of me, whatever actions I take next, and the memories I’m creating. Because… “This too shall pass.”

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project 30 – erin

5 Feb

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Erin, 33  / Erin Joy Henry 

What would your 30 something self tell your 20 something self if you could?

You are good enough. You are not your career, your bank account, your weight or your ex-boyfriends. Light up the room when you walk in, even if it makes others uncomfortable. I forgive you for being so hard on yourself. Start a self-care regimen, practice yoga and kindness and surround yourself with positive people. If there is too much drama in your life, take responsibility, and ask yourself how you are contributing to it and what you can do to change it. Save ten percent of every paycheck. Build strong friendships with other women, and lift each other up. Soul search until your heart is content.

What do you wish you took more seriously in your 20’s?

The luxury of time. I lived by myself and had a flexible schedule. I ask myself now, what was I doing with all of that time? I could have gotten so many more things done! I could have taken so many naps! Now that I have a baby, time is so precious, but so is he.

What do you wish you took less seriously in your 20’s?

The opinions of people who didn’t have my best interest in mind. Those people naturally fade from our peripheral vision anyway. Why would I have cared what they thought?

Favorite memory from your 20’s?

Heading off to India with less than two weeks notice with my friend, Signe, and a group of meditators, to stay for two weeks at an ashram at the foothills of the Himalayas. It was a life changing experience, and I went back by myself the next year. If you are ever called to India( or anywhere) find a way to go. It will never be convenient or the right time, but these are the memories that shape the rest of our lives, and these deep pulls on our heartstrings to visit places are never an accident.

In your early 20’s where did you think you would be (work, live etc) by 30?

Good question! I was never someone who planned out my life like that. I never had the wedding planned, the career completely sorted or even the place I would be living, though Southern California was always in the back of my mind. I thought I would be on to another career beyond modeling, which is what I had done since the age of 15, and maybe settled down a little, but 30 seemed SO far away!

And where were you by 30? What did your life look like?

I turned 30 while living as a single person in New York City. I had a great career as a model, a cute little apartment, I was writing for small publication and forming some life changing female friendships I am so grateful for 30 still seemed very young. I dated often, though nobody was promising as far as something long-term was concerned. I was happy, but knew I was coming to the end of a chapter. I started longing for more space, clean air and some trees. I also was ready for a real relationship, as I had been single for several years. I started planting the seeds to move to California, though I had no good reason! I just knew that’s where I was supposed to be. I finally made it happen about six months later and went back to school at the same time. I had no idea what I was doing leaving my career in New York, but I had faith it would work out. I walked into the classroom and spotted my now partner of three years, Alex, who is also the father of my fifteen month old son. It was pretty much love at first sight. Things got very stressful for a while, moving my life across the country, but it was obviously the best decision, and I”m so glad I listened to that voice again.

Were you ever worried that it wouldn’t all fall into place?

Are you kidding? YES! I was always a person that worried even when things were great, that the other shoe was going to drop and I needed to be prepared for the rainy day. I was a big worrier! It wasn’t until I learned how to meditate, and breathe my way through whatever feeling I was in, that it got better. The thing is, there will always be ups and downs, that’s just the way life is. I learned for me, if I can just stay as present as I can in any moment, I will get through whatever life throws my way. I’ve gotten this far, so why wouldn’t I? Knowing this, I can put more of my energy into the positive things in my life, and be grateful, especially when things are good, rather than taking up space in my mind worrying what may go wrong. It’s still something I work at. Just after my son was born, I worried I would never work again, and another career would never fall into place for me. That was such crazy thinking. I tried my best to be present as a new mom, and enjoy the time I was lucky enough to have to stay home. Months went by, but slowly my old modeling clients started calling again, and the nutrition business I have been working on for years finally came to fruition. I still can’t believe I worried things wouldn’t fall into place. There’s a saying I love- “spirit meets us at our point of action,” meaning, keep plugging along and doing the work, and things will align, but maybe not how or when we thought they would.

What is the greatest gift about being a woman in your 30’s?

The things that once seemed so hard, are easier. That comes with self-confidence and self-love, that at least I didn’t have so much of in my 20’s. I think in our 30’s we have a much clearer idea of who we are and what we want in life, so the path to get there isn’t so rocky.

When you look out onto the horizon. What do you hope your life looks like at 40?

I hope I have a healthy family. I would like to have more children and some dogs, and live in a beautiful place with clean air and a big yard. It will probably be more North of Los Angeles, but I”m not sure where that is yet. I hope to continue working with people on their health goals, working in a career I love. I hope to have really good friends, and be close with my family and my partner Alex. I hope to travel often, and introduce my children to other cultures. I I hope to have financial freedom. I hope I”m still learning, reading books I never though I”d get to, and practicing yoga I never believed I could do. I hope I”m a role model, and that I worry less, and make others feel good about themselves. It’s only seven years away, but forty still seems like an eternity away!

What’s a quote/ saying you try to live your life by?

I am not religious, and if you aren’t either, you can replace the word God with Universe, Spirit or whatever fits for you, but I love this one.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. – Marianne Williamson

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