31 reasons i loved 31

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the more i settle into my 30’s the more i realize that everything they say about it being the best decade rings true. year 30 and 31 have been two of the best years of my entire life. sure most of that can be attributed to that handsome husband of mine, but even that aspect aside, most days i just feel good in my skin -better than i ever did in my 20’s, that’s for sure.

every year seems to arrive a little more quickly than the last. i swear i was just ringing in year thirty-onederful, but apparently only 24 hours stand between me and thirty-twogoodtobetrue. how long until i can’t make up these clever puns anymore? don’t answer that. here are the cliffs notes on another fun-filled year.

in my 31st year, i… (in no particular order)


one || became mrs. rivera. this should come as no surprise but the pinnacle of my 31st year was our wedding. as cliche as it is to say, it really was the best day ever (relive the entire planning process here).

two || rebranded shawna leeann. after deciding to make the leap into the world of fashion blogging, creating a personal brand was next on the list of things to do to make me feel more professional. i enlisted the talents of my college sorority sister and former roommate, karen spearrin of mason alley calligraphy and together we collaborated to come up with the logo the greets you at the top of the homepage every time you visit my site. it’s classic yet whimsical, strong yet feminine. it’s the perfect manifestation of what i like to think are the best parts of me.

three || had an absolute ball planning our weddingwhenever i write one of these recap posts, i oftentimes have to go back month by month to remember everything i did in a given year. i swear the years pass by more quickly as i age so it’s honestly quite nice having this blog to keep track of everything that transpired over the last 52 weeks. in reviewing the archives, i can say that a bulk of year 31 was spent planning our wedding (obviously). from meeting with our coordinators/florists, and taking our engagement photos, to choosing our caterers (and subsequently tasting our wedding food!)picking out our wedding bands, and meeting with our dj to solidify the ceremony music and reception playlists, to finally settling on our honeymoon destination, choosing a wedding hairstylegetting a sneak peek of my wedding day make-up as well as the flowers, to one of the most important decisions –which wines to serve. i documented the entire wedding planning process from start to finish. not only was it fun to share it with you in real time, having these posts archived is such a gift! we can relive this chapter of our lives any time we want!

four || celebrated one year of shawna leeann, the fashion and lifestyle blog. i’m not gonna lie and say that my first year in the fashion blogging world was all diamonds and rosé (points for you if you catch that reference). there is a LOT of hustle that goes on behind the scenes! thankfully i have the amazing support of my husband -who is a saint to sacrifice parts of his weekend to also be my in house photographer, my family, and of course all of YOU! thank you, thank you, truly from the bottom of my heart for helping make this first year as a fashion blogger so sweet. i only hope that my 32nd year brings more growth to this space, more opportunities, endeavors, and of course, some really cute outfits.

five || had the dreamiest bridal shower. on a gorgeous saturday in october, my cousin (matron of honor) and aunt planned the most perfect afternoon. we ate delicious fare, admired the stunning ocean views, and i was spoiled rotten -by the generosity of people’s giving but more importantly, by the company of some of my favorite women on the planet.

six || followed by the perfect “unbachelorette” bachelorette weekend. my idea of a wild night is staying out past 8 p.m. so i’m sure it wouldn’t shock you to know that i wasn’t exactly keen on having a bachelorette party, in the traditional sense at least. without a big bridal party, it seemed indulgent to ask my friends to plan a weekend away. but they insisted that having some sort of celebration -no matter how low key i wanted it to be -was a rite of passage for any bride and so i obliged (it didn’t take much convincing after we all decided that a day at the spa was the best way to commemorate me becoming mrs. rivera!) we spent the weekend poolside in fluffy white robes, drinking wine, and simply soaking up each other’s company. it may have been the tamest bachelorette party on record but couldn’t have been more perfectly suited for me.

seven || collaborated with some awesome brands. while i still have a long way to go in terms of personal goals for this plot of internet real estate, i will say that having brands approach me to offer blog partnerships was one of the highlights of my year. first up was JORD watches who outfitted me with one of their gorgeous wood designs, then smile brilliant was gracious enough to get my pearly whites, well pearly white for my wedding day, and irresistible me passed along with a curling wand that i literally have used every day since it arrived. i also continued to work with my dear friend and jewelry designer, natalie borton, who essentially guarantees my accessory game is always on point.

i only hope that in my 32nd year, i will be afforded more partnership opportunities. fingers crossed!

eight || grew some epic eyelashes. after years of wearing waterproof mascara had worn my lashes thin, i started using rodan + fields lashboost a few months ago and you guysssss, this stuff works so well it’s bananas. you know what else is bananas? how long my eyelashes are even without mascara. if you’ve been on the fence about trying it, just do it. i’m not getting paid to say this, it’s just something that i’m glad my 31-year-old self decided to try.

nine || discovered some new-to-me brands. there’s a high probability that my wardrobe will always be comprised of mostly madewell and j.crew pieces if only for the fact that their clothes make me feel like my best self. but this year i found affections for a few new-to-me brands -including club monaco, janessa leone, carrie forbes, and jenni kayne. the older i get, the more i realize the importance of investing in well-made, classic pieces that will last the test of time. while the aforementioned designers’ collections tend to be at a higher price point that normally accustomed to, i have realized that it’s okay to splurge every now and then on a well-made piece that will last you decade, especially if it makes you feel like the prettiest princess (like this dress makes me feel!).

ten || fell in love with wide-leg pantsafter essentially swearing off dress pants for years, i finally found a silhouette i love! wide-leg trousers not only accentuate my waist but they make my legs look a mile long and when you find a style of pants that does that, you buy them in every color. as evidenced here, here & here. as well as cropped versions here, here & here. clearly i have a problem.

eleven || discovered good coffee exists outside of starbuck’s. S and i purchased a nespresso vertuoline machine as a pre-wedding gift to ourselves, and our morning routine hasn’t been the same since. while i certainly still love treating myself to a venti soy cappucino from the green mermaid when i’m out and about during the week, having a nespresso machine that brews delicious frothy goodness in a matter of moments in the luxury of my own home has certainly revolutionized my morning routine (and save us some money, too!).

twelve || got approved for liketoknow.it. in terms of my fashion blogging persona, getting approved for rewardstyle was one of the biggest accomplishments of the year. for those who aren’t familiar with the program, it allows instagram followers to shop your outfit directly from your post. it’s also a way to monetize your feed. in my eyes, being accepted into the program legitimized myself as a serious fashion blogger. as did the fact that they recently featured me on their instagram account which has 2.5 million followers!

thirteen || took 500 studio barre classes. i reached the milestone just days after my 31st birthday, so it felt appropriate to include this athletic fete on my list. while it feels good to know my body is strong enough to have endured now over 500 studio barre classes, the best part of the night was having my besties surprise me and take class with me so we could all enjoy the achievement together (and with champagne). 

fourteen || discovered my new favorite hairstyle. (psst –the one i employ on day five or six of unwashed hair). if i’ve learned anything over the years of experimenting with new hairstyles is that it takes a lot of trial and error to come up with a full-proof plan. after many trials and even more errors, i’ve finally come up with perfect formula to achieve the carrie bradshaw bun. which is essentially just a GIANT cinnamon roll atop your head.

fifteen || watched my husband fill our home with furniture made with his talented hands. i’m going to brag about my husband for minute. i have yet to find something he cannot do. and not only that -that he cannot do well. when we began combining households and transforming my condo into our humble married abode, naturally one of the questions was what furniture we’d select to fill a few vacant spaces. instead of heading to pottery barn or the dreaded maze that is ikea, S just made the items we desired. nbd. all in all over the course of the past handful of months, he has constructed floating shelves for our office, a headboard for the master bedroom, a daybed for the guest room, a sofa table for our entryway, and a hutch with the most adorable farm doors (by far my favorite piece!) for extra storage. did i mention he also recently resurfaced the fireplace with new tile? single girls take note -being handy is a highly underrated quality to find in a potential mate. S can do everything from fix our garbage disposal to construct a large piece of furniture and it is not only extremely attractive, it has also saved us a lot of money and unnecessary amounts of stress. he’s kind of the best, no?

sixteen || got serious about regular self-care. i’d say i’m a pretty healthy individual (knocks on the nearest piece of wood). i eat well, workout regularly, and try to drink the recommended amount of water every day. but as i’ve entered my 30’s, i’ve realized that my body isn’t as resilient as it once was. while i love my primary care physician, this year i also enlisted the help of a naturopath to approach my well-being from a different perspective. without going into too much detail, she has helped revolutionize aspects of my health that i’ve struggled with for years. it’s a shame i took this long to do something about it! aside from that, i’ve also made it a point to stay on top of my annual exams -including my yearly mole scan which is extremely important given how fair-skinned i am. and while it may seem indulgent, i also made the decision to treat myself to regular facials. in the words of one of my favorite podcasters, “your face is your base” so it’s important that it gets the TLC it needs. it’s also important that i do something to combat these breakouts i continue to get despite being out of adolescence. because adult acne is fun, you guys.

seventeen || went to my first professional hockey game. as a christmas present to S and his dad, his mom and i surprised them with tickets to a ducks vs. kings game. though the boys are divided by their loyalties (his dad is a ducks fan and S, a kings), our double date at the honda center in february was a great success. you know, i am legally obligated now to cheer for all of my husband’s favorite sports teams but given the fact that one of my favorite movies EVER is mighty ducks 2, i was a tad disappointed i couldn’t participate in all of the quacking. gordon bombay forever.

eighteen || was in an old navy promotional email. every so often a brand i tag in an instagram photo will reach out and ask permission to use said photo in one of their many social media forums. usually it just means posting it somewhere on their website -sometimes in a more conspicuous spot than others. regardless of where it is featured, it’s always extremely flattering! recently i got a big ego boost when my friend forwarded me a promotional email from old navy that i had regretfully deleted before even reading. as i scrolled down to the bottom, i noticed that of the four instagram photos they had decided to feature, i was one of them! in a saturated market where style bloggers are a dime a dozen, it felt great to be recognized for all of our hard work (i say “our” because S deserves half of the credit for everything related to shawna leeann).

nineteen || finally got my hands on a pressed juicery freeze. and in one bite, i understood all the hype. for those who avoid dairy (like myself), it’s the next best thing to your favorite fro yo. i even got my ice-cream-loving husband to try it and he admitted it wasn’t half bad! i signed up for the rewards program to ensure i get a free one this month (in honor of my birthday) but i anticipate many repeat visits this summer and beyond.

twenty || discovered my new favorite secret weapon. a good tailor. normally when items in my closet aren’t fitting in a flattering way, they go in the consignment pile or depending on how old they are -the donation bag. but when a few beloved pieces started to make me feel frump-city, i knew i wasn’t ready to part with them just yet. so what to do? take them to my local tailor, of course! i had only ever gone to my tailor when a button had popped loose or for a minor fix on a hem, i had never thought to employ him to do more extensive fashion fixes. but for way less than the cost of a new outfit, he was able to make five garments feel like new! i’m telling you, if you don’t already have one, track down your own secret weapon. when garments are custom-fitted to your body it can make you feel like a million bucks.

twenty-one || wore a lot of bows and stripes. what can i say? i know what i like and what i like is usually covered in horizontal stripes or adorned with a bow. need proof?

check out here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here & here.

twenty-two || strengthened my relationship with my little sister. if you weren’t already aware, i have two half-siblings -a sister who is 19 and a brother who is 15. now that my sister is in college (which makes me feel entirely too old), i feel like we’ve begun to relate on an even deeper level. i remember that chapter of my life so vividly and how it can be liberating, scary, empowering, and disillusioning all at the same time. while she has turned into an incredibly smart, capable, talented, and beautiful young lady, she has begun looking to me for advice and assurance and it has been the most endearing thing in the world. i am so grateful for where our relationship is today and i look forward to fostering it for years to come.

twenty-three || learned that those pants will sell out, so buy them when you have the chance. i’m the type of gal that will put a few things in her online shopping cart, mill over them for a few minutes, then convince myself that they’ll eventually go on sale and patiently wait for them to do so. in the meantime, at least one if not more of said pieces will sell out. it has happened so many times to me recently that you think i would have learned by now. but still, my love for a bargain gets me every time. so let this be a reminder to my almost 32-year-old self, buy the [insert piece of clothing you’re googly-eyed over here]. you can always return them and/or take them to the store for a price adjustment. you’ll still kick yourself for not buying those striped pants from j.crew. live and learn, sister.

twenty-four || finally visited the pink ombre wallafter admiring the famed pink ombre striped wall in many of my fellow san diego blogger’s instagrams, S and i made the trek to north park to stage our own photo shoot. it was a good 45 minute drive from our humble abode but based on the photos that i’ll share tomorrow, it was well worth the drive. plus we got to grab a cold brew on nitro from dark horse coffee roasters and check out the adorable gift shop, pigment in the process.

twenty-five || was reminded that kindness and sincere gratitude never goes unnoticed. i’ve said it once and i’ll say it again, never underestimate the power of a hand-written thank you note or a kind word even to a stranger. people love to be acknowledged and appreciated.

twenty-six || fell in love with james corden’s carpool karaoke. whenever there’s nothing on tv, S and i binge watch a few episodes of james corden’s popular bit. it has actually become one of our favorite nightly rituals. hands down my favorite is the one with adele, but harry style’s recent episode definitely comes in a close second.

twenty-seven || became an NBA fan. i credit my favorite podcast, jalen & jacoby for turning me into a bona-fide basketball fan. while football and tennis will always have my heart, i will say that i now thoroughly enjoy watching an nba game, especially during the playoffs.

twenty-eight || started a new holiday tradition with my husband. after years of having nothing more than a trader joe’s wreath on my door (which are fabulous, btw), S and i took a trip to the tree lot to purchase our very own charlie brown christmas tree. i channeled my inner joanna gaines and decorated it with handmade burlap bows as S strung it with little white lights and just like that casa de rivera was filled with holiday spirit.

twenty-nine || initiated a month of adventures. as you know, S and my goal of getting out and exploring our city on the weekends is a fairly new endeavor. and despite a few glitches with less than ideal weather, we’re slowly but surely crossing items off of our list. we may not have accomplished everything in the anticipated timeline, but we have the rest of our lives to get everything done, right? the most important thing is that we’re having a blast sharing in these experiences together.

(p.s. read our adventures at the farmer’s market, la jolla, liberty public market & north park).

thirty || need my husband’s calm demeanor to tame my stress. i am an uptight person by nature. and if something disrupts my routine, i’m oftentimes thrown for a complete loop (occasionally accompanied by a full emotional melt-down). it seems like the first half of 2017 (after the wedding, thank goodness), was riddled with miscellaneous challenges -everything from a popped blood vessel in my right eye (fun!) to a bevy of car troubles. through every trial (i realize the trials are quite trivial in the grand scheme of things), S was cool as a cucumber. he had a solution for every issue, comforted me in my crazed state, and even in his most inconvenienced moments, still had a refreshingly positive perspective.

which leads me to my final thought…

thirty-one || realized i’m very much ready for a baby. don’t get too excited, this is by no means an announcement, but we’re hoping to start a family in the next year (God willing, of course) and i couldn’t be more excited of this next chapter of our lives. also as evidenced in #30, my husband is going to be the BEST father.
see y’all back here tomorrow for a fun shoot commemorating turning 32!


p.s. read my recaps from year 30, 29 & 28


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