Hi Babes! Long time no blog. Yesterday was my 30th birthday. I can’t believe it’s finally here. I’ve been saying I was 30 for a year and a half, so now it feels like I’m ahead of the game! Although I’ve enjoyed my break from blogging, and may not be 100% ready, it’s time to start easing back into the swing of things around here. (I really did miss it!)

I’ve only been gone for about a month, but it feels like so much longer than that. Thank you to everyone who called, texted, e-mailed, or tried to get in touch in some way, shape, or form. I honestly didn’t expect to completely fall off the face of the internet, but the more time I spent signed off …the more I really appreciated the recess.

I don’t think it’s necessary to dive into any detailed explanation, but a few weeks back, I had to close a very special chapter of my life. My world was turned upside down and I needed a little time to digest everything that was going on. I feel like my heart is at the core of everything I do, both personally and professionally, so when it’s feeling a little broken, everything else feels that way too. With 30 on the horizon, I wanted to use my time off  responsibly so that I could walk into this new decade with a clean slate, a clear mind, and a crystal clear understanding of what I want in life.

We all know that we’re responsible for our own happiness, and sometimes to get there, we have to do some really hard things. We have to walk away from people that we don’t want to walk away from, leave places that are scary to leave, and take a good, hard, honest look at ourselves. No one wants to face their flaws or failures or fears, but doing so only helps us in the long run. So that’s what I did.

I postponed collaborations if I could, I bailed on the ones that I couldn’t, and I deleted all social media apps off of my phone. I probably ruined some professional relationships, but sometimes there are more important things to take care of. This check out was no joke and I suddenly found myself with quite a bit of free time! I started tracking my moods and writing, I read 4 books, listened to 5, rediscovered my love for Soduku (#nerdalert. Not to brag, but I’m like really good. Are there any kind of Soduku Olympics?! I want to try out LOL), I spent a ton of time with family and girlfriends, I cried, laughed, I talked to everyone, I talked to no one, I went to the beach, went to the movies, cuddled with my dog, felt completely numb, felt completely alive, drove around late at night with my sister, drank a few too many gallons of Paisano (not while driving), and just lived offline for a quick bit (I might start checking out the month before my birthday every year!)

At some point, we all break. But there comes a time when you have to put yourself back together and start moving forward. I debated whether or not I would share this post for so long, but every time I’ve opened my heart, it brought something positive into my life. I’ve recently clung to the words of women who changed the trajectory of their lives and it made me feel so much less scared and less alone. So, I want to offer that to someone else who may need to hear it…

  1. Put yourself first. It’s not selfish. Especially if you don’t have a spouse or family yet.
  2. Don’t settle, and don’t be afraid to seek everything you want in life.
  3. Love people the best you know how, but don’t forget to love yourself too.
  4. Learn to be happy simply being you.
  5. Treat the hearts of others with nothing but care and respect.
  6. Always follow and listen to your own heart. Be brave enough to break it, and be strong enough to piece it back together. Everything will work out in the end.

…And just like that, 30 is here. I’m so glad I took the last month to just be. I was so thankful that I woke up yesterday feeling the way that I did. While 30 looks absolutely nothing like I imagined, hoped, or wanted it to, I suppose it looks exactly as it’s meant to. I do believe that God has a bigger plan than we do. I do believe that every person that comes into our life serves as a lesson or a blessing, and sometimes both. Each person helps guide us towards the path we’re ultimately meant to go. While it may be hard to see or understand in the moment, I trust that one day I’ll look back and it will all make so much sense.

I have to say, I’m optimistic about my thirties. I can’t help but believe that everything will finally begin to fall into place.

(You’re lying if you don’t hear the intro to Liz Phair’s ‘Why Can’t I’ while looking at this gif!)

I feel so many different things right now …excited, vulnerable, motivated, but most importantly, loved. If nothing else, the last month has made me so grateful for all of the people in my life. I’m not sure what I did to deserve that kind of love and loyalty. Especially from my sister. 🙂

So since it was just my birthday, I’d love for you to leave me a little gift in the comments. I want to know the best life advice you’ve ever been given; and for the 30+ crowd, tell me something I have to look forward to!

I want to thank everyone who takes the time to read this blog, many of you have been here for years and I appreciate your presence, friendship, and support so much. Here’s to a bright & beautiful future for us all! …And some more great beauty products too. 😉

XOXO

43 comments on “Becoming Bella: This is 30.”

  1. I have missed seeing you on the inter webs and was just thinking about your absence the other day. I’m glad you are ok and happy you took this time for yourself! Self care is SO important. Happy belated birthday. My 30th is in a few months and taking time to examine life for sure makes sense.
    I don’t have any sage advice but keep living your best life and taking time for yourself!

    • Thank you so much for the birthday wishes, Caroline! I’m realizing how important self care really is and am glad I took the time too. I’m excited you’ll be joining me in the 30 club! I have to say, it’s been treating me pretty well so far. It’s the first birthday since 21 that you really do feel different. In a good way! I think your advice is perfect! That’s the best thing we can do for ourselves. XO

  2. Hello beautiful! Thank you for this post, I just turned 30 about a week ago (YASS GEMINI SISTER) and I am glad I’m not alone in how I’m feeling! I hear our thirties are the best years of our lives, so I’m looking forward to the next decade and facing it with much more confidence, experience, and humbleness than I faced my twenties with. When I come back east I would love to develop an actual in person friendship with ya, you seem like someone I could grow and learn with! ☺️

    • Destinee!! My fellow 30yo gemini — we are a rare breed. 😉 I am so excited for this decade! My 20’s were challenging in so many different ways, but you said it perfectly…we come out of them more confident, experienced, and humble. I do believe 30 will be the best yet because we have the ability to make it so! If we’re growing and learning, we’re getting better… and that’s enough for me. YES, please let me know the next time you’re on this side of the country, I would love to get together. I mean it!! XO

  3. Missed seeing you on the internet, but your post was SO nice to read, and a little bit relate-able too. I struggle a lot with ‘loving’ myself and not stressing about everything in life. I’ve contemplated going off IG/internet myself, but i’ve never gotten myself to do it.
    Glad to hear you are OK and how you’ve enjoyed your time off. Hope the best is on its way and more, for you, in this new decade of life!!
    XOX

    • My sweet little sprinkle! I can promise, getting off of social media for a month was the best thing I’ve ever done. We know we spend a lot of time on these apps (even if we’re not posting/engaging), but when you actually delete them…it’s like you’ve been given a whole new life! If you’re ever feeling too overwhelmed, I highly recommend trying it out …and don’t give in. Find other ways to fill your time, I spent most of my nights/mornings reading. I replaced my Instagram app with the MOOD app…when I felt the need to grab my phone, I would update it. I could record my mood as much or as little as I wanted and it helped me realize what days/times I was feeling my best, when I was feeling my worst. It analyzed all of my entries and broke down how positive & negative I was feeling. It was so exciting to see my positivity increase every little percent. There’s still a long way to go, but progress is progress. I’m feeling much better than I was and have really high hopes for 30. The best is yet to come!! XOXO

      • SO glad to hear that! I’ve never heard of the mood app, but i’ll definitely need to look into that!! Sounds like a healthy way to really be mindful of yourself and feelings. Can’t wait to see what 30 & this year brings you! XOX

  4. I’m so happy you are back and I’ll keep you in my prayers to continue to give you the strength to face what you are facing in your life right now. I know social media breaks are a must especially for your heart. I’ve taken a ton myself. I’m not sure what advice though I could give to you about beginning the journey into your 30’s..I’m on the last the end of mine and I would say my 30’s were the most difficult and heartbreaking. But when all was said and done, I found my healing, forgiveness, & a new self love for myself that I thought I lost. The last 2 years of being in my 30’s have been the best by far. I found myself again and it’s amazing what can happen when you do. I recently finished Rachel Hollis’s book “Girl Wash Your Face” and absolutely LOVED IT. Helped. I’ve it 2x now. Definitely a must read. Keep your head up love and I wish you nothing but the absolute best on this new chapter and journey. Thanks for sharing apart of your heart with us today! xoxo! 💗

    • Thank you for this! I’m so happy for you; there is no better feeling than making it through something difficult, learning from it, and finding yourself in the process. It’s so easy for us to get lost or become complacent, that sometimes we don’t even realize what we’re doing to ourselves in the process. Girl Wash Your Face was actually one of the books that I read! It was great and so inspiring. I loved her story! 🙂 Thank you for reading and thank you for the kind words & support! XOXO

  5. You have definitely been missed! Glad that it was to take care of yourself (self care is always important). Happy birthday – here’s hoping 30 treats you well! Best thing I’ve learned is to read (and listen to!) your needs first, because if you’re not taking care of yourself you’re no good to anyone else.

    • Thank you so much for the kind words and birthday wishes, Marcella! You’re 100% right, that’s so important and something we should all stay up on! XOXO

  6. I’m so happy you are back and I’ll keep you in my prayers to continue to give you the strength to face what you are facing in your life right now. I know social media breaks are a must especially for your heart. I’ve taken a ton myself. I’m not sure what advice though I could give to you about beginning the journey into your 30’s..I’m on the last the end of mine and I would say my 30’s were the most difficult and heartbreaking. But when all was said and done, I found my healing & a new self love for myself that I thought I lost. The last 2 years of being in my 30’s have been the best by far. I found myself again and it’s amazing what can happen when you do. I recently finished Rachel Hollis’s book “Girl Wash Your Face” and absolutely LOVED IT. I’ve it 2x now. Definitely a must read. Keep your head up love and I wish you nothing but the absolute best on this new chapter and journey. Thanks for sharing apart of your heat today! xoxo! 💗

  7. Oh my Bella. HAPPY 30th. You are truly amazing and I always love to read your words. I wish you happiness, love, good health & good fortune this year and the years to come. The best advice… “Be UNAPOLOGETICALLY you. Your authenticity will attract the most special people.”

    XOXOX

    • Thank you Jess! 🙂 I love your advice, it’s so true and the only way cultivate the right people and repel the wrong ones. No point in trying to be anything but yourself. Thank you for the love and the chat. 🙂 Mwah! XOXO

  8. The best life advice I have is to always remember that you will never be given anything you can’t handle. Everything will always work itself out in the end! Your 30s will be your best years! You will not only learn so much about yourself, but about other people. And you will learn so much about the people and things that mean the most to you in this life. Happy Birthday beautiful! Loved this post so much xoxo Kristle

    • Oh my gosh, I love this one. We can really handle so much more than we think and I’m beginning to learn that. I cannot wait to dive into my 30’s! Thank you for the sweet words and the birthday wishes, I appreciate them so much XO

  9. So happy to see you back!!! And Happy 30th birthday!!! Taking care of yourself is always so important and more should take note on what you have done!

    • Thank you so much Jennifer! I definitely need to do it more often. It’s the best gift you could ever give yourself! Thank you for reading and for the birthday wishes! 🙂 XOXO

  10. It’s so wonderful to have you back! This post? Oh, my gosh, you are wise beyond your years. You ask where my best life advice has come from? Well, some of it is right here, in your very moving words. I thought my 30s were good, even though the plans I had made for my 30s never came to be. Now that more than 20 years have passed since then, I’m in a happier place than I ever dreamed possible back when I was facing my heartbreaks and disappointments. We can’t know what would have been down the path we chose not to take or that was taken from us, but that’s okay. I believe great things can come from even the most sad and broken times in our lives. I know your 30s will hold great things, and that they will only be the beginning!

    • You’re too good to me. I definitely don’t have it all figured out…obviously lol, but I’m learning. Every year has challenged me in a new way. I love your story and your optimism. You are one of those people who seems so confident, content, and comfortable with their life and with who they are. One of those people who literally shines. I appreciate your advice and thank you for always being a great friend! You’re wonderful! XOXO

  11. I hope that your experience wasn’t to life altering. In saying that, 30 is just another number. I will be 41 this year and my 40s are by far better than my 20s and 30s. I still feel 25 and am not planning on showing my age any time soon. Do what makes you happy, and THAT is what will make you feel your youngest. Oh, happy birthday 😉

    • LOL, I love you!! I hope my 40’s are pretty great too. I hope they’re all great from here on out! And that’s the best advice ever. Thank you for always making me laugh, supporting everything I do…and for being you, Angie! Mwah! XO

  12. Very well written my friend! In your 30s you have figured out what you want and now you’re figuring out how to get it! I’m not worried about you in the slightest. You are strong, smart, beautiful, and driven! I can’t wait to see what doors open up for you girl!
    Always here,
    Deanna 😘

    • You’re the best D! 🙂 I think you’re handling the 30’s thing pretty well yourself. I’m excited – that’s exactly it, you know what you want…and what you don’t, and it’s time to make it happen for yourself. No one else will, that’s for sure. Love you! Hope to see you soon. I’m still coming by one of these days, I promise! XO

  13. Oh gosh! I definitely don’t have any great life advice, but I always feel at my best when I wake up and get a workout in first thing in the morning! It doesn’t matter if I end up doing nothing the rest of the day, at least I accomplished that!! 😊

  14. You are such a beautiful person.. Happy birthday my love. I got 2 years on ya so let me give you some wise advice. 🙂
    My biggest life lesson has been to let go and let God! It’s gotten me through some hard times and has never failed me.
    💋💋xxo
    Jamie

    • That’s the new motto! Doing everything I can do for myself and then giving the rest to him. There’s definitely comfort in that. I can’t wait to get together & catch up! XO

  15. Amanda, how you’ve been missed and how you are so appreciated and loved by so many of us. Take all the time you need, this isn’t a race but your life. Baby steps, always baby steps. You’re so young and have your fantastic life ahead of you- always trust God’s plan, He knows what’s best. Lots of kisses to you and La Mamíta Lily… I miss so much too! 💕🐛🦋🍸💫

    • Thank you so much Elba! There’s nothing wrong with baby steps…they still count as steps! I’m optimistic about the future, I know it’ll be as bright as I choose to make it. Thank you for always bringing a smile to my face. Lily sends her kisses to you too! XOXO

  16. I’ve honestly loved my 30’s! I’ve started to feel comfortable in my own skin in ways that I never had been before. I’m learning not to sweat the small stuff and to appreciate what really matters. I pray that your 30’s are fabulous and filled with much joy and happiness. You deserve it!
    I love that you took time away from social media like that. I feel like I want to do that sometime soon. I haven’t been blogging super faithfully, but I am online a lot (and I use instagram and facebook a ton). I kind of want to check out a bit and just focus on friends and family too. 🙂
    Happy birthday!!!

    • Thank you for the birthday wishes and advice, Nicole! I think I’m going to love my 30’s too. They already feel so different, but in a good way. I would definitely recommend checking out. Even after being back for a couple days I can already feel myself slipping back into my old ways. It can be such a waste of time, I really loved my time off. I got in touch with myself and everyone else around me. It was so refreshing to be 100% present 100% of the time! XOXO

  17. This is truly beautiful. I just wanted to say, thank you so much for sharing and pouring your heart out, I am sure that was very difficult for you to express and share.I know I don’t know you much on a personal level, only through your blog and your cousin Stacey, but you are truly inspiring and such a genuine person, which is just so refreshing and relatable (just like your cousin (: ). So it just saddens me reading this and watching you be so raw and real here and on your Instagram. I’m so sorry for what you are going through, and I will keep you in my prayers because it will get better, I promise you! Do small positive things that make you happy everyday. Focus on yourself and the people that bring out the best in you and you will see how better things will get.
    You are such a strong woman and even though you’re going through a difficult time right now, you don’t even realize the amazing and brave thing you are realizing & doing. Which is to love yourself and giving yourself the priority you need and deserve! That is so crucial and an incredible thing to realize in life.You don’t even realize how impacting you are to people.
    You got this life girl, you already own it, just keep being positive and it will all come together. It is going to be okay, just take it day by day, little by little because IT WILL GET BETTER. Remember to keep your head up, otherwise your crown will tilt (:
    (I just felt like I needed to send some positive and encouraging words your way!)

    Happy Birthday again! & So happy you are back!

    • Kimberly! This was the sweetest comment ever! You’re such a love and full of great insight. Everyone goes through something tough at one point or another, and I really didn’t want to make a big production out of mine, but I do think it’s important to recognize your hard times, it reminds people that we’re all human and we all feel the same pain. Again, thank you so much for this. It really made my day. You are adorable and I’m so glad Stace has such a good friend like you in her life! I’m so glad I have her in my life too. I hope you have a wonderful Summer and maybe we’ll see one another at some point! XOXO

  18. Happy belated birthday, Amanda! I contemplated messaging you but figured you needed your time and it’s not my business anyway. 🙂 But, please know that I’m thinking of you and praying that your heart and spirit continue to heal. I hope this wonderful community you’ve built helps with this as you start your new chapter.

    Recently, someone at work said to me, “You don’t need a story” and it really stuck with me because I find myself explaining myself or the things I do a lot. I think you probably already understand this because as you said- you don’t need to go into details (and you DEF don’t!!), but I thought it might be helpful to mention it. Another piece of advice that I’ve kept with me since my first job after college is to “trust the process”. It isn’t easy but everything works out. Maybe not the way we planned or wanted but everything does work itself out.

    I look forward to more content from you!

    • Thank you for this Caitlin. Wow… “you don’t need a story” is powerful. I’ve never really heard it explained of thought of it in that way. I’m happy to be easing back into blogging, I’m definitely doing a bit better. Every day is a little easier, and I love being able to put my energy here, it’s a fun & positive space and it really does bring a lot of joy! Thank you for your kind words and support and friendship. 🙂 XOXO

  19. First off- your my Gemini sister- which means, we’re born a mess! Secondly- congratulations for knowing your worth and letting yourself feel everything you need too. It’s not easy. Life is a roller coaster. Your late twenties into your early thirties can be really scary! Am I doing what I want with my life? Am I with the person I’m going to spend forever with? Did I do everything I want to before I settle down??! So many questions we battle within ourselves! Now breathe. Look around you. You have your health. You have an amazing blog with a very promising career ahead of you. You have family and a blog family who supports you. The sun is shining. God loves you. Smile. You have everything to look forward too. Cheers girlfriend!

    • LOL! The Gemini-curse… we are a TOTAL mess! And this comment really resonates. You’re 100% right and that’s what I’m trying to focus on. I do have my health, my friends, my family, opportunity, I have so much and that’s where my energy needs to go. That’s where we should all be putting our energy, into the beautiful things that we do have. Thank you so much for this message, Erin. I appreciate it more than you know! XOXO

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