Hey, friends! I hope you’re having an absolutely beautiful day doing exactly what you want with people who make you laugh. You are all a gift to me. Thank you so much for reading my words and cooking the food I share.
I hope you have an opportunity today to find of moment of peace, light, and hope and truly look in awe at this amazing complex, terrifying and unbelievably beautiful universe we live in.
It’s my 41st birthday, friends. I’ve been in my 40’s for a whole year now. Have I gained any wisdom? I don’t know, but I’ve certainly learned a few things. Turns out, being 40 is actually pretty awesome.
For most of my 39th year, I fretted about turning 40. My mom died when she was only 48, so it felt entirely possible that the end of my life could be approaching. Having a 4 at the start of your age seemed so much older than a 3. People still accomplish things in their 30s. People in their 40s are supposed to be settled, stable, normal.
I didn’t really feel like any of those things. My job, while decent, was a dead end. I felt broke all the time. I worried that being 40 would change things. Turns out, like most things I worried about, it was no big deal.
On being 40
Considering the fact that when I was 30 I completely blew up my life, I guess I actually was pretty settled and stable at 40. I’m married to a man who absolutely treasures me. He’s someone I definitely wouldn’t want to live without. I have confidence in my relationship, and I know how special that is.
I know myself better than I ever have before. I’ve set boundaries around my life and my energy that serve me and allow me to sleep at night. And while I have yet to completely break the habit of stressing about money, I actually feel like we’ll be okay financially. That’s a big deal.
And now that I feel all stable and settled, I can finally start thinking about what makes me feel most fulfilled. I’ve developed a spiritual practice that was completely absent for most of my 30s. I’ve realized it’s actually fine to focus on myself. And guess what. I’m much happier.
Old Lady Advice
Most of my friends are much younger than me, and I find myself constantly giving them lots of unsolicited “old lady” advice. Here are a few things I wish I had known when I was younger.
It’s okay to say no, even at work. Protect your energy. Energy is everything.
If you’re not getting paid, don’t work late. Your energy and expertise have value, and you should be compensated for them.
Just go to dance class. You can probably still keep up with those college kids, and even if you can’t, who cares.
It will always feel awesome when someone says you look 27.
Wear sunscreen every damn day.
Getting carded at the bar eventually just becomes annoying.
If you want to change something in your life, just do it. You don’t need anyone’s permission.
With a few exceptions, you’re never too old to start something new.
Going to bed early with a stack of books is actually what all the cool kids are doing.
Napping is the new black.
Find the thing that makes you feel connected to the Universe. If that thing happens to be witchcraft, even cooler.
Consider an item’s value and cost, not just its price. Buy things you love that will last.
Don’t waste your time on people who don’t respect you. Be polite, but don’t be a pushover.
Always keep ice cream in your freezer.
Most of the things you are worrying about right now are no big deal. Let it go.
You’re going to make mistakes. Apologize, and most importantly, forgive yourself.
You don’t need to do anything to be enough. You are already enough.
I’ve enjoyed being 40, and I’m excited to see what I can accomplish in the next 10 years. I know who I am and what I want, and I’m less and less hungry for approval with every passing year. Yeah, I have some wrinkles, and I can’t move as quickly as I used to. It’s worth it to know that I am worthy of love. It may have taken me longer than some other people to get where I’ve gotten in life, but what I’ve learned at 40 is that it takes as long as it takes.
It’s a kinder, gentler world at 40. I’m loving it, despite the previous fretting. Aging is a privilege denied to many. I plan to do my best to enjoy every day. I hope you do, too.
Brown Sugar Body Scrub is a totally luxurious homemade gift. Plus, it’s made with things you probably already have in your kitchen. Mix up a big batch, and gift it to all your friends.
Are you one of those people who already has all your Christmas shopping done? Do you already have all your gifts wrapped and neatly arranged under your tree? Yeah, I might hate you. Okay, I’m probably just jealous. I’m terrible at gift-giving. I have horrible anxiety about getting it wrong. I don’t want to spend money on something that’s just going to gather dust. That doesn’t work for anyone.
This is why I love the idea of giving consumable gifts. I like to give something that can be eaten, used, or experienced within a few weeks. Of course, you actually have to be organized enough to make homemade gifts for everyone. I’m a disaster, and nobody should invite me over for Christmas.
I received this Brown Sugar Body Scrub as a gift from a friend who always remembers holidays and birthdays. The kind of friend you actually want to have around at Christmas. I knew after the first time I used it that I would have to share the recipe with you. It’s too good to keep it a secret.
First off, it smells like something you’d want to spread on your waffles at breakfast. It feels great on your skin, too. Just the right amount of exfoliation to make you feel like you’re getting clean without actually being painfully abrasive. Finally, it leaves your skin feeling soft and smooth and smelling great.
Also, it’s really easy to make with ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen. Just mix up a big batch, split it up between some smaller cute jars, and gift it to everyone you know. Give some to your sister, mother, cousins, co-workers, coven mates, everyone. They’ll all feel beautiful. Plus, you’ll save a ton of money by making it yourself.
Get this Christmas under control. Make some Brown Sugar Body Scrub for all the beautiful people in your life. Give it a try, friends. It’s gonna be awesome.
Be sure to follow How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day on Pinterest for lots of great food and lifestyle ideas.
November has been busy but awesome. I’ve been dedicating so much extra time to this blog, it’s almost like having two jobs. Except I don’t get paid for one of them. Yet. Hopefully, you’ll help me change all that.
We started off this month with a short trip to Chester. It was so restorative. Exactly what I needed in these dark months.
Have you been having your heart broken and your mind blown by Seven Worlds One Planet this month? We could probably watch nothing but David Attenborough nature documentaries forever. I can’t believe the shots they’re able to get. So beautiful. It’s on the BBC in the UK. I hope it’s showing somewhere in America as well.
I’ve also taken a couple of free webinars this month. They’re helping me focus on improving my food blog and turning it into a real business. I don’t have the money to take the courses that these free webinars are selling, but both Beth Kirby of Local Milk and Sarah Fennel of Foodtography School and Broma Bakery have given me a lot to work with. I definitely recommend subscribing to their email lists if you want to improve your photography. They have some free resources and great tips to improve your online images, and I feel like they have a really healthy and realistic approach. If you get to take or have taken their courses, let me know how they went.
What’s the first step in changing your life? It’s something so simple and simultaneously so complex, but I promise, you can do it.
There are a million little things that we let stand between us and the life of our dreams. Money. Relationships. Timing. A lack of skill, talent, or knowledge. A bunch of excuses for why something will never work. When you distill it down and remove all the bullshit, you’re left with something simple. You don’t believe it will work because you don’t believe in yourself.
You know that moment when you realize the number one barrier between you and your goal or dream is your own damn self? That! That is everything. It took me along time to finally see it, but I don’t want you to have to wait another day.
I’ve recently come to realize that the number one most crucial first step in starting any new big project is to just decide to do it. To intentionally make a decision to change your life. Not to just wish and hope, but decide and act.
You’re thinking, “well, d’uh!” but ask yourself, how many times have you let an opportunity pass you by because you just weren’t willing to believe in yourself and make the commitment? You might have given a different reason. I can’t afford it or it’s not a good time. But were those really just excuses? They were for me.
I’ve been writing this blog off and on for six years, and it wasn’t until last month that I finally decided. Now is the time to change my life. I’m worth it. I deserve to be happy, and I don’t have to apologize for feeling that way. And neither do you.
So, what do you want? What do you really want for your life? Not what do you think you should want. Not what do you think you can reasonably get. How do you want to design your life so that you feel outrageously happy? Allow yourself to sit with that question. See it in your mind. Feel it. Write it down or speak it out loud.
If all this is easy for you, if you’ve already got it all figured out, I take my hat off to you. For me, this process has been difficult, even scary. There were actual tears. I felt like I didn’t deserve to be happy. I told myself that living your dream life is for other people. Rich people. Lucky people… Good people. Not for me.
Truly accepting that I am a good person who deserves to be happy was a revelation. Something I’d denied for the past 20 years.
But I’ve decided. I’m changing my life. It’ still terrifying, but in the most exciting way. And I’m so far from having all the answers. I don’t yet know how I’m finally going to start making money off my blog. I’ll figure it out. Other people have done it, and I can, too. It will be hard work, but I’ve done the most important thing. I’ve decided to show up and do the work.
So let’s take this journey together, friends. Let’s build the lives we truly want. Let’s start now and not waste another moment envying someone else’s life. You deserve it because you are awesome.