lifestyle

5 things I’ve learned in my 20’s.

I’m 25.

Let me say that one more time: I’m 25.

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I don’t know when it happened (well, technically I guess I do), but I’m a quarter of a century old. As most of us do, I thought I knew everything at 18. Wrong.

I’ve been reflecting a lot on what I’ve learned over the years and I want to share in hopes that it helps someone, even if it just makes you feel like you’re not alone. Which brings me to #1.

  1. You’re not alone. Ever. Maybe it’s my anxiety, but you know when you have those moments of, I think I’m literally the only person in the world who thinks/feels/acts like this? Spoiler alert, you’re not. For better or worse, you’re never alone.

2. Experiences > things, always. I’m not old. Like, saying I’m a quarter of a century seems old, but it’s not. I went from a job that barely paid me enough to cover my student loans to a job that, combined with my husband’s income, pays us enough. I splurged on shit (sorry mom) that I didn’t need and way too much take out food. Don’t do that. Save for experiences, because there’s never been a time (even when I didn’t like the place) when I said, “I really wish we wouldn’t have gone on that trip.”

3. People lie, especially on social media. I literally laughed out loud when I typed that out. Someone’s perfect Instagram feed is just a lot of time spent in VSCO; someone’s seemingly perfect relationship is just a lot of time posting about the positives on Facebook – because let’s be real here, no one is perfect. I’m gonna say that one more time for the people in the back: NO ONE IS PERFECT. I am, in no way, saying that you should post all the negatives on social media because I don’t really want to see that either, but what I am saying, is that you should never compare your life, relationship, career, etc based on what you see online.

4. It’s okay to not know what you want to do for the rest of your life, or to change your mind. For as long as I remember, I wanted to be a teacher. Of course I went through phases of wanting to be other things, but in the grand scheme of things those thoughts never really mattered. Now that I’m headed into my fourth year of teaching, I just don’t know. Right now? I’m happy. I enjoy my job because I’m at an awesome school with even more awesome coworkers and students who I adore. However, I’m not sure teaching is going to be long term for me. To be honest? I’m still coming to terms with this one.

5. It’s okay to not know where you want to settle down. I don’t think it would shock anyone in my life to hear me admit that I don’t know where I want to settle down. We own a home, but it was one of those things that seemed like the smart decision at the time (I still think it was). However, I don’t want to be here long term. I’m one of those people who leaves pieces of my heart in almost every place I go, which makes it really hard to decide where you want to live forever. It’s also scary, as someone whose entire family lives in one city (yup, you read that right), that most of my heart seems to be in a city across the country from everyone else.

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Travel

Old San Juan: Part 2

My biggest tip for Old San Juan (if you’re visiting the forts)? THE FREE TROLLEY.

This thing was  life saver. I mean there’s a pretty decent breeze, but there’s just little relief from the humidity. This trolley will take you back and forth between the two forts, with stops in between if you don’t want to take the whole trip.

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The second fort we went to was San Felipe del Morro Fortress. I’ll be honest, by this point in the trip we were pretty done with the history lessons. We stopped reading the signs and explored on our own. It. Was. Hot.

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At this point we wanted about 30 minutes for the trolley (it runs 30-40 minutes, depending on traffic) and headed to explore the streets in Old San Juan. We didn’t really go in anywhere – except one “souvenir” shop to get something authentic (walked out with a painting), but y’all, these streets were breathtaking. I took almost 100 pictures of the buildings alone. I have never been somewhere with such colorful buildings – it was definitely my kind of scene.

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I challenge y’all to name a place you’ve been with colorful scenery so I can add it to my list!

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Travel

Old San Juan: Part 1

I’ve never been one to enjoy history, especially while on vacation.

However, Old San Juan was another experience altogether. Old San Juan is one of the most beautiful places I’ve been.

I feel like I should start by saying that we didn’t plan this day at all. We were dropped off and our goal was just to wing it.

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Our first stop was Castillo San Cristóbal.

This fort guards the only land access to Old San Juan.

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The views from Castillo San Cristóbal were absolutely breathtaking. There is so much history in this fort. Castillo San Cristóbal’s last military action was during the Spanish American war; however, during World War II the United States continued to use this fort as an active military base.

All in all, if you’re into history or it’s just not your thing, it is well worth the money to get to and tour the forts in Old San Juan. It’s only $10 to get in and you can get into both forts with your receipt.

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Travel

Follow Me To: El Yunque

Long time, no talk.

As I sit here typing this, I feel compelled to brag about my incredible view. I’m writing this post from a balcony, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean in one of the coolest places I’ve ever been. This was my first time leaving the Continental US, but I’ll tell you more about that when we get home.

El Yunque was a big part of why I wanted to visit Puerto Rico. It is the only rain forest in the national forest system; it receives over 200 inches of rainfall every year.

We decided to “splurge” on a guided tour through Puerto Rico Tour Desk, both to save money on a rental car and because I’d read about how curvy the road leading up to the forest was. I am so glad we booked this tour because they picked us up from our hotel, dropped us back off at our hotel, and our tour guide was awesome. Lily was so passionate about Puerto Rico’s history and I learned so much from her.

We took the “off the beaten path tour” – I highly recommend being in decent shape to complete this tour. The rain forest is incredibly muggy and slippery. I actually bought hiking boots to do this tour (because I love to hike and have many vacations in my head that are centered around hiking). Shoes with tread are an absolute must – seriously. As we walked to the first waterfall a guy behind our group fell right on his shoulder and had to turn around and go back. As we were coming up from the falls, a guy had a shirt wrapped around his bleeding head. So, yeah. Shoes with tread are a necessity.

Anyway, we made it to the first waterfall (La Mina Falls), already soaked because of the humidity. Everyone wore a bathing suit under our hiking clothes, and by this point we were dying to get in the water.

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Unfortunately for us, this is one of the most popular hikes in El Yunque and this was the day before July 4th. The water under the falls was packed with people. Luckily, Lily knew a smaller swimming area that required some light rock climbing (another reason why you need shoes with tread). It was literally right under these falls.

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After our hike back up, we headed to a different location.

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The best part of this location was the rope swing.

**If you know me, you know I don’t know how to swim. I’m actually terrified of deep water, so I didn’t jump from the rope, but of course my husband did.

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We were gone from 9 am to a little after 4 pm. We stopped at a “Kiosk” for a late lunch and the food was absolutely delicious (I’m a picky eater, so that’s saying something). I had an absolute blast and would highly recommend touring with Puerto Rico Tour Desk; if you don’t want a guided tour, it is still a must to visit El Yunque if you come to Puerto Rico.

If you need a good pair of hiking boots, I loved mine. I wore them in the water to help my footing and I literally didn’t slip a single time – in or out of the water.

Home Decor

Home.

I’m going to preface this blog post with a little honesty: I didn’t want to move home.

After I graduated college, I got married and moved across the country to California – this literally happened in a span of two weeks. I loved (still do) everything about Southern California.

Insert pictures to prove my point:

 

Moving from a place that is extremely hot during the summer months; snakes exist in the fall and spring; and it is extremely cold during the winter months, to a place that is more or less sunny and 75 all year long was a huge adjustment in the best way possible. We were always hiking, at the beach or outside exploring.

When we found out we were moving home, coupled with the high price of renting, we knew the “smartest” thing to do was to buy a house.

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We moved into our new home on Labor Day weekend, 2015, which means we’ve been here for a little over a year and a half. I have no idea how people have their lives together so fast, but let me show you the first (and only) room that I am pretty freaking pleased with.

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My house is pretty much 100% furnished by Ikea, Target, and TJ Maxx. I hope you enjoyed seeing how long it took me to complete one room in our house (haha)!

Travel

Charleston, South Carolina

Every year that my husband and I are married, we celebrate by visiting somewhere new. That list consists of Catalina Island, California;

Asheville, North Carolina;

and this year we added Charleston, South Carolina!

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Day One.

Waterfront Park: This place has some awesome water/bridge views. They also had swings on the “pier,” but good luck getting a seat.

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Day Two.

This morning we woke up and immediately headed to Folly Beach. Words cannot describe how much we miss living by the water. We found the best breakfast place – it was absolutely delicious and super cheap (win-win). Also, added bonus, the walls are completely covered in pictures of dogs. Basically, you will love it.

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**Random insert: Unfortunately I didn’t get any pictures, but we stayed at an amazing AirBnB! Our host was phenomenal and hilarious!

Queology: This was hands down the best place we ate during our entire trip. They had local beers on tap and a live band that was awesome.

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Day Three.

Today, as an anniversary gift, we went on a brewery tour. I really don’t like to drink, but my handsome husband left drunk, so obviously it wasn’t bad (haha). At this point in the trip I’d almost completely stopped taking pictures. I’d gotten extremely sunburned (think: swollen leg, can’t move it hurts so bad sunburned) the day before at the beach and I was ready to get back home – totally not my normal attitude while traveling.

I did however get some awesome pictures of Rainbow Row – a must see before we headed home the next day.

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Overall, Charleston definitely wasn’t my favorite weekend trip. However, I think that has more to do with how much pain I was in because of the sunburn, and not a lot to do with the city itself. I’m sure now that we’re back on the East Coast we’ll find our way back.