entirelyerika ?


You are thinking one of two things…

1. Oh great, let me take notes and better my life, or

2. Psh, 29?! You have just started life, what could be learned from you?


I truly hope you are the first reader, but if you are the second, sit back and at least hear me out.

This is not going to be one of those uber reflective posts to make you feel sorry for me and my life because, in all honesty, I’ve had an amazing life with minimal rough patches. I have learned a lot from those few testing times and would love to help all of those out there not have to experience them if at all possible.

I don’t really know where to begin and sadly, I don’t have the best memory, but one of the earliest memories of being different and just saying, “Whatever…I’m going to do me, like it or not.” was in fourth grade. I grew up fishing, playing in the woods, using my imagination to invent new games when there were no toys, wherever I was. I watched wrestling with my father and went fishing, and listened to {what is now} classic rock, I guess I was what most would call a “Tomboy”.

Personally, I’ve always found this term to be weird… “tom • boy”…did I really act like a “bold or immodest woman”? I was 10/11 just being me, most girls were into the major boy bands of the time {Backstreet/N*SYNC/Hanson}, the newest lip gloss color/scent or glitter butterfly clips. They couldn’t care less about WWE/WWF, fishing, or rock music.

Was I less of a girl because I chose to talk with the boys in my class about wrestling and run and play with them and not flirt? If anything, I would think this would make me more well rounded to be everyone’s friend.

Did the girls care enough to ask me about the bands, lip gloss or glitter, butterfly hair clips…which I did, in fact, like by the way? Nope, instead only a few of my closest female friends knew the real me, I soon realized these were the only friends I needed and I have kept those friends since then.

This was my first memory of how some mean girls could treat others.

Middle school was another beast in itself. This was about the time I decided to start caring, somewhat, about my appearance during my most awkward stage, ha! This was before hair straighteners were crazy cheap and everyone and their mother were making Youtube videos on how to miraculously go from looking 13 to 23 with contour and a little magic.

This was also a time when my few elementary friends were scattered throughout the HUGE middle school and I rarely got to see them. Thankfully, I was an avid Girl Scout and these few friends lived in my neighborhood so I could see them regularly. Again, I had to learn how to make friends differently…and I only had a few.

My life did not begin to start making sense until I entered high school. Through elementary and middle I felt I had to try to seem somewhat normal {while still keeping as much of myself as possible} to “get by”. Upon entering those high school doors, I could be free. There were all types of people: jocks, goths, metal heads, artsy, cheerleaders, AP students, etc. You name it, we had it…I wanted to be all of their friends! I feel my ability to play sports, eclectic music tastes, overall friendly personality and ability to mesh with most is what made my high school experience so positive.

This is also where I begin reflecting on my past 29 years on planet earth. These are the things I have learned and wish others would think about, no matter your age.





• be true to you, no one else •

This is advice that is easy to tell someone to d but takes a lot of practice to completely commit to. I have had those moments when I had to stop and ask myself if what I was doing/wearing/thinking/saying was how I truly felt or was I just mimicking what made others happy. When I stopped and truly assessed this, I could then empty my closet, brain and my personal life of things that did not make me happy.

You will come across people in your life that will attempt to shape you for the better, but there may also be those who are only focused on shaping you for themselves and not your happiness. Stay away from those happiness suckers!





• focus on doing YOUR best •

I wish I could go back to my 15-year-old self and tell her to stay focused in school. Now, don’t get me wrong I have always been an A/B students, in mostly honors classes, but I could have done so much better. I could have been an all A student or taken more challenging classes, possibly helping me get through college quicker…

In the adult world, this is true, however, most forget and fall into a slump. I was guilty of this until recently. I did everything that was asked of me…I graduated college, got a job directly after graduating, and have since been working in my field of study. It was not until I moved positions did I truly wake up and attempt to do my best…since this move, I have felt more alive and wanting to do the best I can.

Focus on your best and not comparing it to others around you. I am new in the blogging game and I find it hard not to compare myself to others and/or sigh when I read another post about how they made $xxx,xxx blogging in 1 minute…hyperbole nonetheless, but you get it. I know I need to keep at it and, again, focus on my personal bests and grow.




“If you’re doing your best, you won’t have any time to worry about failure.” – H. Jackson Brown Jr.

• learn money management ASAP •

I am in no way a financial guru and I am also not saying you need to research all things Dave Ramsey or Clark Howard {though if you have no clue who those guys are you might need to do a quick Google search} this minute but you need to know the basics.

The minute I turned 18, I got my first credit card {if you have no self-control, this might not be the best advice for you}. I began my credit history with this little piece of plastic and I do not regret this decision at all! I used it mostly for gas and food and tried to pay it off ASAP. I believe this little card has helped me get all of the things I have today, due to my “long” credit history and ability to pay it off or on time for the last 11 years.

Another no-brainer, that most still have not mastered, is staying within your means. Now don’t get me wrong, I like nice things and I understand wanting them but you have to be real with yourself. Is that handbag really worth a month’s mortgage? Is going on this vacation going to keep you from paying your car payment whilst having enough money in the bank if an emergency happened? Most Americans have a mixture of the YOLO and FOMO problem…they live in the now and don’t anticipate the future…yeah, don’t do that! Be smart! Check out how to “ball” on a budget HERE.




• find something you love and stick with it •

This could be a job, hobby, etc. If you love it…keep it up. It is obvious if it makes you happy you will stick with it. I have always loved music and one of my continuing loves is attending concerts. I have recently found a new love in blogging. I have kept a blog in the past but wrote more for myself.

If you have no clue what you might love, try new things! Try a painting class, becoming more frugal, training for a 5k, helping your local animal rescue {check out my favorite HERE}, changing jobs {scary I know!}, listening to a new music genre…the list is endless!




• find someone to love •

Take this one for what you will…I am not telling you to go find a man/woman to love and not receive love in return. This love could come from a dog, cat, hamster, and/or a sloth…just find someone to love and love you in return.

If you are not into finding a human at the moment, visit your local shelter and find your newest best friend. There is nothing like the love of an animal, they are always happy to see you and it is nice to know they need you as much as you need them.

I add this one because we all want to be loved, even those of us who may be the hardest to love. It is a human need, I truly believe there is someone out there for everyone. It may take you a few toads to find the one, but when you find him/her there is no better feeling!




• travel…now! •

Traveling is one piece of advice I am trying to both give and take. Growing up, we would take a yearly beach trip and I have been a few places in the United States, but I feel like I need more. I have been on a few cruises and a study abroad trip that has taken me out of the country. I feel those few hours off the boat and in of the classrooms of Belize were very limiting. I would love to begin with visiting place in the United States and work myself around the world. I feel there is so much more I am meant to experience in the world and not just in the fickle-weathered state of Georgia.

I hope these six lessons I have learned have helped you see that you can better your life, no matter your age or circumstances. I would love to hear your feedback and/or other lessons you feel readers can learn from.