2019 resolutions and thoughts on turning 30

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Goodbye 2018. Hello, 2019! 
It’s been a while since I was this excited for a new year to start. But boy am I excited!
I’m turning THIRTY YEARS YOUNG today and I already know my 30’s are going to be the best years of my life. Maybe I will dread 40, but I definitely haven’t been dreading 30. All of the amazing things I’ve been looking forward to in my 20’s can now come to fruition, and the anticipation is just as exciting! I’m so hopeful for continued business success, engagement (everyone cross your fingers), marriage, babies, family, new friends, fostering relationships with current friends, probably a move or two, and a ton of laughter and love. Truly, I cannot wait for all that is to come!
Don’t stop here… keep reading for my resolutions & thoughts on thirty.


But first… let’s take a quick look at last year’s resolutions…
(you can read the full post HERE)

#1 // Achieve Financial Stability. I am SO happy to report this resolution was successful. 
Most of you probably don’t know, but I’ve pretty much been living paycheck to paycheck for the past three years. After quitting my job in Virginia in 2016 to move to California with Justin, I knew things would be tight for a while. Fortunately, I found a great job there but only as a contractor and was still trying to supply items for my blog and stay afloat paying for weddings, and travel, and the usual things you need to live. Blogging isn’t all that cheap in the beginning stages. There’s a lot to buy to really push your business to the next level… a camera, lenses, clothing, accessories, backdrops, editing apps, etc. And let’s be honest, usually, in the process, you buy a little too much. Because part of your job is researching new styles and following tons of glam girls on Instagram and usually, you want a lot more than you really need. 
Last year, it was a HUGE goal of mine to pay off my Nordstrom Card, my personal card, and to save money in the bank for taxes (… something most people don’t think about when they start blogging). It wasn’t an overnight financial success but it’s something I knew I had to do. I was very fortunate to work with some amazing companies and brands last year and to see great returns on commissionable items I shared – this is all thanks to you all! AND NOW I AM HAPPY TO REPORT I am 100% debt free, no credit card bills, money for taxes ready to dish out, with some left over to save. Justin has been a huge influence on my saving and I really wanted to make him proud as financial stability and responsibility is so important in a relationship. It made my heart so happy to accomplish this goal.
#2 // Find Work/Life Consistency. This is still a work in progress, let’s talk about it more below!
#3 // Push Pardon Muah To The Next Level. Another success, 2 out of 3 isn’t too bad.
As most of you know, I now officially blog full-time, and it still feels weird to type that. For the longest time, people would ask me what I do and I would say I work in marketing (which is what I did previously), or that I had my own website. It wasn’t until the end of 2018 that I really felt confident saying I’M A FASHION BLOGGER! 
Let’s rewind to the end of 2017/beginning of 2018. A lot went on behind the scenes no one ever saw. I was jobless in October of 2017 when we decided to move back to VA from CA. A decision I made willingly and happily… yet it still made me jobless haha. I started interviewing when we moved back as I had no thought that blogging full-time could be possible at that point, and continued to interview into early 2018. But in the midst of interviewing I realized I didn’t love doing what I used to do anymore and any new full-time job would only take me further away from blogging. So while I interviewed, I poured my life into Pardon Muah… dreamed it, imagined it, BELIEVED in it… and come to the end of January I stopped looking. And Pardon Muah, LLC became a full-time gig!
If you had asked me even two years ago if I would blog full-time I probably would have said “I hope so” or “Maybe”… always with doubt in mind. Because we all have dreams but in my wildest, I never thought I would get to do my dream job. But like all things it doesn’t come easy (and it shouldn’t). June will be my fifth year of blogging and it’s been an amazing learning experience. I started Pardon Muah purely as a hobby in 2014, and then started to take it seriously the summer of 2016. I joined RewardStyle (aka LiketoKnow.it) at the end of 2016 and started doing partnerships in 2017, which became consistent in 2018. The sometimes difficult journey definitely makes the successes so much sweeter! I am excited to see what 2019 will bring and how much more Pardon Muah will grow.
AND now for my 2019 resolutions & goals!
#1 // FOCUS ON WELLNESS. In my efforts to get Pardon Muah where it needed to be, I REALLY fell off the wellness wagon. Rolled down the hill, fell into a stream, floated down river, and got lost somewhere between “I don’t have time” and “I’m too tired.” BUT I have learned not to let a setback like this keep me down. What I gave up in time and probably nutrition (lol), I made up for in new partnerships, new content, and new opportunities. So it wasn’t for nothing and now I just have to find my way back to the wagon. I already made it back to Day One at the gym and I already remember how good those workout endorphins can feel. Not to mention, I can finally wear all my cute athleisure wear!
I called this resolution “wellness” and not “workout” because it’s about so much more than that. It’s about my overall health. I am the first to admit I’ve been leaning on genetics for way too long. And I can already tell things are moving around and that my body feels older than 30 (which is in part thanks to 16 years of pre-professional ballet). I really, really want to learn more about nutrition and eating healthy. I’m really into Pinteresting meal planning & prepping right now and think I’m going to give it a go here in a couple weeks (if you have recommendations please send them my way). I also realize that having children in my 30’s, I won’t bounce back like my 20’s so I’m trying to be as healthy and fit as I can before the time comes. Additionally, I’m working on keeping down my level of stress.
I’ve realized that blogging is a marathon and not a sprint. You can’t do everything, please everybody, and be everywhere all the time. You can for a while, but that while will burn you down to a candle only used for storing makeup brushes or beauty samples. I felt extremely burned out by the end of December and I realized it’s because I didn’t give myself that chance to take a break. I didn’t take time to foster friendships, to spend more quality time with Justin and Heidi, to visit my family, to make more calls to my Granny & Dadaw (Hi! if you’re reading this!), and to just take care of me. 
When you work for yourself you don’t feel like you can take a break, or you feel like you’re cheating. You feel guilty taking time for yourself when you could be sharing more outfits, linking more things, thinking of content… and the list goes on. So this year I refuse to apologize for taking time for me!
#2 // FIND BETTER BALANCE. Oh! Balance… 
As you noticed above, I had a similar resolution last year. And it wasn’t that I didn’t think about balance. But truly, I had a hard time finding, well, time for balance. And yes, much of what I’m talking about are my own excuses I made along the way. I made lists and didn’t check the boxes, I made schedules and didn’t follow them, wrote goal sheets and didn’t go back to meet them. I was 100% a planner but just didn’t follow through. And there’s nothing that bothers me more than not following through in the completion of a goal.
I realize so much of balance is planning and organization. Which ironically, are things I consider two of my biggest strengths. And trust me, if you’re going to blog, you better plan often and organize daily. So I need to utilize these skills to give myself more balance. If I get up on time, I’ll have more time to accomplish my to-do’s before Justin gets home for dinner. If I stay on task, I’ll have time to eat lunch and watch a show (fun incentives!). And if I check all the boxes each day, I’ll keep myself from feeling totally overwhelmed. Which is something else that can quickly happen in blogging. 
I want to find balance so that my life isn’t all about work… even though I LOVE my work. As I’ve gotten older, primarily this year, I realize I don’t see my grandparents and my parents enough and when I really think about it, it makes me sad. I have a job that is incredibly flexible, a boss (i.e. me) who is super cool, and no children, so I need to make the best of this time. Also, a lot of what I do is very self-centric so I think it’s good to step away sometimes. To not make everything all about me.
If you feel you’ve mastered balance, I would love to know your advice in the comments below!
#3 // FOSTER RELATIONSHIPS. This is a resolution Justin and I both agreed to work on. If you’ve followed me long, you KNOW J and I are homebodies. So much so my grandmother tells us we are like old people… and they just got home from a cruise to Cuba with their friends. We almost always default to being home. We love our downtime and the peace and quiet of our home. We also just love our home, as this was our first year living where we do and we love love love it! But frankly, we’ve been bad friends and we need to hold ourselves more accountable to our friendships. 
We both have some incredible friends who we don’t want to lose from our lives. And don’t want to think we aren’t invested in theirs. We haven’t even had a house warming party or had anyone but our families come by (insert emoji with hand on face ashamed). 
For me, part of my problem with socializing is my anxiety and my introversion. Both aren’t debilitating for me, but it does make it harder for me to make plans, especially if I’m the one doing the asking. And you know, I’m sure both things would get better with time if I would just push myself out of my comfort zone. This year I want to attend more conferences, events, go on blogger trips (YAY! my first one is at the end of the month), attend girls’ nights, and host things at our house. At the smallest level, I want to be better about remembering friend’s birthdays and sending sincere, thoughtful gifts. I want the people who mean something to me to know it and to see that I show it.
I also wanted to chat a bit about turning THIRTY, yes 3-0!
Alright, I know this post is probably the longest one I’ve ever written, but I couldn’t end at resolution #3. I really want to talk about my thoughts on 30… where I am and where I’m not. 
Total honesty, at 30 I thought I would be several years married, have three kids, and have not a care in the world. I’d have an awesome job with a great title, and for sure be swinging around a quilted Chanel in my Louboutins. Oh yeah, and I’d have a brand new black Tahoe for my three kids. 
(insert laughing crying emoji ten times)
CLEARLY, this is not what my life looks like. And you know what, thank goodness! Not thank goodness because there is one thing wrong with the life I described above, but thank goodness my life took turns to where I needed to be, not where I thought I should be (by 30). I’m really thankful and proud that I made some really difficult decisions, sometimes painful, to do what I needed to do for me. Not for my family, or my friends, or for society. My 20’s were interesting, eye-opening, up and down and all around kinds of years. And it may have taken all ten of my 20’s but I’m here and I’m happy.
During my 20’s I finished college, finished graduate school, got my first big girl job out of school, joined ROTC, became President of my sorority (woo woo DZ!), met tons of incredible people, and moved three times (cross country twice). I also had makeups and breakups, lost friends who weren’t true friends, ended an engagement, had the worst boss in the history of bosses, quit three jobs, wrote several IOU’s to Justin for bills I couldn’t pay, and felt lost and anxious more times than I can count.
So many high and so many lows. 
and I wouldn’t change a thing!
The lows make the highs so much better. The lows show us our strength and perseverance. The challenges make the success worth having and the happiness worth living. Because how do you know what love is and what happiness is, and what joy is if you haven’t felt heartbreak, and sadness, and anger. Life is a beautiful thing and it’s important to remember no one’s journey is the same. 
I get so many questions centered around marriage and my age. If we are waiting, why are we waiting, are we consciously waiting, are we “really” happy because we aren’t married. And I totally understand the curiosity. Because by society’s standards I’m old which makes being technically single (by the paperwork boxes you have to check) a strange thing. And there must be a reason right?!
Haha. No. 
Justin and I are the happiest of couples, truly. We live together because we love each others company. We date because we wouldn’t want to be with anyone else. We respect each other, love each other, root for each other, hope for each other. We’ve been together for three years and my heart still skips a beat every time I hear Justin coming home from work. I swear he gets more handsome by the day. That’s why we are together. We aren’t waiting, we are growing. We are experiencing life to the fullest extent to which we know life isn’t worth living without the other. And that’s how it should be.
I learned a long time ago not to let society dictate my decisions. And at 30 I’m already feeling a renewed sense of vigor and excitement. I learned in my 20’s that I’m a beautiful, confident, smart, caring, capable woman and that’s what I hope for all of you no matter your age. To feel worthy of everything life has to offer and to never ever accept less than what you deserve. When everything else is gone you have to love yourself the most. You have to love yourself first. 
and I’ll end it here…
Here’s to 2019 and to the big THREE-OH
Cheers to the new year and all the things to come!

XO Amanda