23 Things I Learned When I Was 22

Twenty two was a big year for me; A lot of things happened to say the least. I ended a serious long term relationship and started a new one. I graduated college. I landed a job. I rented an apartment, ended my barista career and sorta became a yogi. I travelled, learned, cried and grew. Ampersand became a legitimate thing while I was 22, as did my love of writing. 22 was a year of change. Despite that–or maybe because of it–22 was one of the best years of my life.

Last year on my birthday, I wrote a post of all the things I wanted to accomplish by the time I turned 23. Having completed most of the things on that list, I only thought it would be fitting to share some life lessons I’ve learned these past 365 days. Cheers to turning 23.

1. Yoga is a wonderful thing. If you don’t believe me, you haven’t done it enough. I first turned to yoga because I wanted to try something new. I turned back to it when I lost my way, and once again when I needed to feel grounded. Words cannot begin to describe the things I learned about myself on my yoga mat.{Shout out to Prana House Yoga for my beautiful birthday practice on Saturday!}

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2. Hang onto good friends. My life wouldn’t be as half as fun, happy or full without my best friends. I’m lucky enough to still be friends with my girls from childhood and to have gone to Villanova with some of the best people I will ever meet. All my favorite memories from this year have been because of the amazing people around me.

3. Brunch is always a good idea. What’s better than good friends, good coffee and french toast? There’s always time for brunch.

+1000 basic points.

4. Sometimes, you have to be spontaneous. Yes, you have to be responsible. But spontaneity makes you feel young. It makes you feel adventurous. It makes memories that you’ll tell you kids someday and then they’ll think you’re cool. Just do it because why not?

5. And other times, you just have to be patient. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not patient. But sometimes there’s nothing you can do but… wait. I learned this the hard way with looking for a job, but I ended up in a position that fits me so well, and I can’t imagine being anywhere else right now. Good things are always worth the wait.

6. Love comes in different forms. And they’re all beautiful. Love changes and grows, that’s why it’s amazing.

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7. Thank your familyThis past year, I won an award based on my leadership and academic achievements at college. My parents attended the ceremony and dinner and it was that night that I realized I couldn’t have achieved anything without them. If they hadn’t supported me, challenged me or encouraged me, I literally wouldn’t be the person I am today. Karen & Joe, I really do owe you everything.

Cheers to Joe & Karen.

8. Dreams change & that’s okay. For the longest time, I dreamt of becoming a magazine editor. I chased my editorial dreams with a fierce determination all year, only to realize that it might not be what I want to do. At first, I was disappointed and upset with myself that I gave up searching for an editorial position for a job in PR, but then I realized that it’s okay to change my mind. It’s part of being human.

9. Don’t get too comfortable. 1. Because things change, quickly and 2. The best things happen at the edge of your comfort zones. If you’re not a little scared or uncomfortable, then you’re not growing. Keep pushing yourself.

10. Joy & sorrow go hand-in-hand. “The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain” –Kahil Gibran.

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11. There’s usually a silver lining. Some situations just suck. Sometimes you can’t figure out “the reason.” But sooner or later, you’ll realize the silver lining, no matter how small. Plus, a little positivity never hurt anyone.

12. Hang out with your siblings. Because they’re the best friends you’ll ever have. I’m not only lucky to have Krista, I’m even luckier that I can call her a friend.

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13. Save your money, but not all of it. The end of my 22nd year and beginning of my 23rd has been spent thinking A LOT about money. Adulting is expensive! While it’s good to save for your future, we can’t go around not doing things because we’re so terrified of spending money. Great conversations with friends are worth spending money on dinner. Get a manicure when you have a crappy day at work because it will make you feel better. Money is good for saving, but you make it so you can spend it, too.

14. Be goofy. Ryan is a goof-ball. Sorry for outing you babe, but it’s true. And honestly, it’s probably one of my favorite things about him. He brings out a silly, goofy, giggly side of me that I love. We laugh a lot which makes life more fun. He’s taught me to not take myself too seriously.

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15. Read good booksBecause bad books suck and kill you soul and ain’t nobody got time for them.

16. Networking does help…But so does just being a good friend. I’ve learned valuable professional skills from networking, but I ultimately landed my job because I kept in touch with a friend. Networking is necessary, but ultimately if you’re just a good person and are nice to people, you’ll be fine.

new friends!

17. Find a mentor. Or two. I’m lucky to have multiple intelligent, strong and kind women that I look up to. I’ve also been fortunate enough to have their help and guidance, professionally and personally. Role models can really make a difference (especially when you have no idea what you’re doing with your life).

18.  Throw away your checklists. This is surprising coming from the girl who makes a daily to-do list on a legal pad every day at work. What I mean is, don’t make a check list for everything. It’s probably healthy to have nothing to do some days or not pressuring yourself to get everything done, every single day. Do random stuff you didn’t write down with a box next to it.

19. Be kind. Because there’s no reason not to be.

20. Know your worth. In relationships, at work, in life. You don’t deserve to be disrespected, lead on or treated poorly, ever. It’s not worth it because you’re worth more than that.

21. Trust what got you here. This is one of my favorite things that I heard this year. We may not know where exactly what we’re doing or where we’re going, but you have a whole life of experience behind you and you’ve made it this far, right? Trust the same will help you in the future.

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22. Soak it all in. Aka be present. It’s probably one of the most challenging things to accomplish, but I’m determined to make a habit out of it.

23. All you have is time. Hearing this as a freshman at Villanova’s Orientation, my mind was blown. I don’t think I fully understood it until I became a senior when I felt like I was constantly running out of time. No time for relaxing, vacations, long conversations, family dinners, errands, coffee dates or catching up. But in reality, all we have is time. And we have the control of how we spend it.

Here’s to 22 being great & 23 being an adventure.

{Thank you to all the people who made 22 amazing!}

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A Wonderful Surprise!

When I got back from my third day of my real girl job (more on that later), I saw that my WordPress app had a notification. Turned out that one of my followers, Haley, author of Hey Now, Haley Now (def check out her Do’s and Don’t’s For Freshman Year, so accurate!) nominated me for the Liebster Award! I’m so honored to accept and now nominate five other writers to spread the blogging love.

What is the Liebster Award you ask? Well I had no idea until I was nominated, but here’s how it works for those who haven’t heard of it. If you’re nominated and accept,  here are a few rules that you need to follow:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you.
  2. Display the logo for the award on your blog
  3. Nominate 5-10 other bloggers who have less than 200 followers. To nominate, let them know they have been nominated by commenting on one of their posts.
  4. Answer the questions that the person who nominated you has set and pose new questions to your nominees.

Here’s the pretty award badge for the award! I’ll also be displaying it on my homepage.

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And now… for the questions Haley asked me. And then the bloggers I nominate will have to answer questions I make up! Here are some things you may not know about me…

1. Where are you currently living? Well right now, I’m sitting on my couch in New Jersey, but I’m moving to Philadelphia literally tomorrow! (Seriously, I just finished packing and all my worldly belongings are sitting in my kitchen, ready to be packed in the car).

2. What’s the best book you’ve read lately? I’m re reading The Storyteller  by Jodi Picoult. So so good. If you like her old stuff, it’s the same flawless writing but with a totally different theme. (Also, *~shameless plug~* Ampersand will be releasing a Best Reads list super soon!)

3. What sparked your interest in blogging? When I studied abroad in Italy, I started a blog to share with my family so they could keep up with all my fun adventures. (Check out Summer In Siena if you want!) After that, I totally fell in love with blogging and Ampersand was born. I have been & always will be a writer.

4. What’s your go to drink at Starbucks or the coffee shop of your choice? Oh don’t ask a barista this question… haha. I have seasonal Starbucks drinks so it’s hard to pick (#basicproblems) but I will always love a tall skinny caramel latte.

5. Which animal is your spirit animal? Why? An otter because they hold hands while the sleep. (And I like cuddling.)

6. If you could have one super power what would it be? Stop and slow down time. Not rewind or fast-forward because I don’t need to mess with the past or future, but I would love to slow down the present.

7. If money, timing, and logistics weren’t a question, what is the one thing you wish you could be doing right now? Being a full time blogger and buying a nice house filled with items from Pottery Barn.

8. What are five words that can be used to describe yourself? Probably enthusiastic, dramatic, ambitious, fun-loving & caring.

9.What’s your biggest pet peeve? Slow walkers. Or people who don’t use their blinker. ugh.

10. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live? Siena, Italy. 100%.

11. What’s your favorite late night snack? Microwave popcorn or mozzarella sticks.

Enough about me… let’s get to the fun part! Here are the 5 blogs I’m nominating. These ladies are extremely talented and I absolutely love reading their work. Check out what they’re up to!

Ink On My Hands

Peonies & Subtleties 

The Queue

STYLES I LIKE

Probable Cause

If these bloggers accept my nomination (which I hope they do!), they’ll have to answer the following questions.

1. What’s your favorite childhood memory?

2. *NSYNC or Backstreet Boys and a compelling argument why.

3. Describe your college experience in three sentences.

4. What is one short term goal you have?

5. What’s your morning routine?

6. (Because I liked this one so much from Haley!) Favorite Starbucks drink? (Or if you’re not as basic as me, what do you order at a coffee shop?)

7. What’s the most important quality in a friend?

8. What’s your favorite color, animal and dessert?

9. Where do you love to write?

10. Random fun fact!

Thank you again Haley for the nomination! It was such a wonderful surprise to be acknowledged for my blog & writing. And a big thank you to everyone who continues to read! Y’all are the best.