32 reasons i loved 32

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if there was ever a year that felt like it came and went in a hurry, it’s year #32. in fact, the rate at which my 33rd birthday has crept up on me was so alarming that i almost didn’t want to write this post. not because i’m scared of turning another year older, but because

but then i thought about how much fun it is to look back on these yearly recaps and reminisce

anyway, with just a few days before i celebrate another candle on the cake, here’s a recap of the past 365 days:

in my 32nd year, i… (in no particular order)

one || bought a house. if getting married was the number one memory of year 31, buying a house was definitely the top moment of year 32. as you know, after a six-month journey, we finally found our forever home and just a few days ago we officially moved in! stay updated on all future home posts by visiting the “casa de rivera” tab.

two || went on a canadian honeymoonwe chose to go the non-traditional route of delaying our honeymoon six months after our january 2017 nuptials. honestly it was the best decision ever. we were able use the time to get settled into life as #teamrivera and then had something to look forward to after the wedding buzz wore off. we ended up spending 10 days in gorgeous quebec city, quebec and it was a dream. we stayed in a castle, garnered convincing french accents, and logged enough miles by foot to justify the poutine and croissants.

three || discovered everlane’s wide leg cropped pant (and then proceeded to buy four pairs). after swearing off pants for years, i finally found my signature silhouette -wide-leg and cropped. after everlane graciously gifted me a pair of their beloved wide leg cropped pant in bone, i fell in love with them immediately that over the course of the past year, i’ve added three more colors to my collection. the best part is that they’re under $70 so adding another color to my arsenal (cough, pink, cough) is completely justifiable. at least that’s what i tell myself. but when you find something you feel good in, shouldn’t you own as many of them as possible?

four || developed a huge girl crush on kelly leveque. after a girlfriend introduced me to kelly’s nutritional philosophy of the “fab four” (fat, fiber, protein & greens), i quickly scoured the internet for any article and/or podcast in which she was involved. her celebrity clients include jennifer garner, jessica alba, and molly sims (just to name a few) who all have gorgeous, healthy, and strong bodies, so i knew there had to be something fabulous about her methodology. a few weeks later, she came to town for  a book signing and i was able to meet her in person. not only did she sign my book, we’re basically besties now. just kidding, but i did accidentally stalk her at a coffee shop an hour before the event (creep smile).

five || took 750 barre classes. who would have thought that four years later i’d still be just as obsessed with studio barre as i was the first time i walked into a class. the truth is, i still can’t get enough and take classes up to 5x per week. this rigorous schedule (on top of teaching) warranted me reaching another milestone in year 32 -the 750 mark! next stop is the big 1,000 which i’m hoping is achievement enough for my husband to finally join me in the studio…

six || speaking of workouts, for the first time in years, i stepped outside of my comfort zone and tried two new-to-me workouts –bodyrok and rush cyclefor someone who hates change and the feeling that she’s not naturally gifted at something (what a combo!), stepping into not one but two new workout studios was a big step for me. but i have found that not only has my body been challenged in new ways, but my spirit has as well. i’ve realized that i’m more capable than i give myself credit for and that despite not always realizing it at first blush, i actually enjoy a challenge. over the past few months i’ve gained confidence and a few new muscles, too. both workouts have reminded me that new ventures don’t have to be scary, in fact, they’re quite the opposite.

seven || began drinking a detox elixir every morning. after doing a week-long detox with my girl, abbey gibb back in january to kick-off the new year, i learned of the benefits of her morning detox elixir. not only does it aid in digestion, it ensures that your metabolism gets moving to burn calories throughout the day. each morning i heat up a glass of water and mix in the juice from half a lemon, a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, and a dash of cayenne (and a mean just a dash otherwise it’s fire going down your throat!) and drink it up! the taste definitely took some getting used to but now i can’t imagine going a morning without it!

eight || detoxed my skin and beauty routines. after getting off spironolactone last fall, my skin threw a major hissy fit. i was assured that it wasn’t nearly as noticeable to others as it was to me, but when you’ve battled acne all your life, even the littlest of blemishes feel like craters. at the suggestion of my naturopath and acupuncturist, i began swapping out my skincare and makeup products for greener alternatives. i discovered primally pure, rms beauty, and most recently, beautycounter and i tell you with the utmost sincerity, these products have changed my life. my current favorite products include this cleansing oil, this tinted moisturizer, and this concealer.

nine || formed a partnership with rxbar. the chicago-based whole protein bar company has been so generous to me this past year, including me on their influencers list so that i receive new products before they launch. and let me tell you, it has been SO FUN to get such exciting and delicious mail every few months. the latest delivery included their new line of nut butters which are YUM.

ten || adopted the tassel earring as my signature accessory. if you go through my outfit posts from the last six months, chances are i’m sporting sporting one of my many pairs of natalie borton tassel earrings. while i’ll never retire my oversized pearls, these statement earrings have become the exclamation point on even the simplest of outfits (i even keep them on during my barre workouts if i’m coming straight from work!).

eleven || found a new use for bandanas. after experimenting with wearing bandanas around my neck, i channeled rosie the riveter and began wearing them as hair accessories instead. i love the retro vibe it gives any outfit not to mention the fact that they keep my hair off my face when i do a face mask before bedtime. i just ordered two more for my collection! (this one & this one).

twelve || discovered my favorite coffee drink. on a whim on our honeymoon, i ordered an iced almond milk latte during an afternoon coffee break. a) it was delicious and b) i knew it was high time i ditch soy milk once and for all. since last july, my starbucks (and every other coffee shop for that matter) order of choice is either a hot or iced almond milk latte. i don’t know why i waited so long to make the switch!

thirteen || finally found some good bras! 32 was the year i finally ditched underwire once and for all. thanks to gapbody, i’ve found two cute and more importantly, comfortable wireless bras that i plan on wearing well into my 33rd year and beyond. i also found a great strapless bra (the holy grail of braziers) that doesn’t fall to my belly button by the end of the day. am i at the age that i get super pumped to find well-performing undergarments? yes, yes i am.

fourteen || channeled my inner reality star and sported diff eyewearafter seeing them hawked by everyone from jojo fletcher to scheana shay, i actually tried a pair of diff sunglasses on for myself and you know what? they’re actually a) really cute and b) high quality! did you know they’re sold at nordstrom?! of course i didn’t buy them there, no no. instead, i opened up instagram, clicked on jojo’s account and found her promo code to use on the diff website. because i’m an american. cheesy social media ads aside, diff eyewear is actually a great company, donating a pair of reading glasses to someone in need for every purchase sold.

fifteen || celebrated thanksgiving at la quinta resort. S and i rotate our holidays between our two families and this year, thanksgiving was to be spent with my side. instead of the usual pomp, circumstance, and turkey, my parents decided to book a few day stay for the four of us at la quinta resort in the desert (aka heaven on earth). best decision ever. truly. we still had a somewhat traditional thanksgiving spread (without having to cook and clean!) and were able to take advantage of the spa and nearby hiking trails. it was no doubt a highlight for the year and a tradition i hope we continue for years to come.

sixteen || celebrated 365 days as mrs. rivera. despite switching up our original plan of ringing in our first year of marriage in ojai at the last minute, we still managed to make our anniversary weekend very special -treating ourselves to a couples massage at the omni la costa, taking a day trip to san juan capistrano, and enjoying an incredible year (complete with champagne) at bo beau.

seventeen || went to disneyland! it has always been a dream of mine to spend a day at the happiest place on earth with the love of my life and it finally happened this year. S and i took the day off of work last november and spent the entire day reliving our childhood. we hit all of our favorite rides (except the matterhorn which was closed for maintenance), ate some delicious food (go to the kabob place in adventureland and get the hummus plate. you’re welcome), and realized that a day of walking (and those rickety rides) really does a number on your lower back. #whendidwegetsoold?

eighteen || found some really great jeans. after years of shuddering at the mere thought of it, thanks to madewell, jean shopping is actually fun! this year i added a few more styles to my collection with a couple pairs of button-fly high-waisted styles (here & here), and a non-stretch variety which has fast become one of my favorite options.

nineteen || took a trip to nashville. after returning from our honeymoon, S and i curbed our travel plans for a few months. it was also around that time that we had begun searching for a house so we knew we wanted to both save our money and ensure that we were available on weekends on the rare chance we found “the one.” but we did manage to sneak away to nashville over super bowl weekend. our purpose to spend a days in music city was three-fold -we got to stay and spend time with my best friend and her husband, visit with my sister who attends vanderbilt, AND see one of our favorite comedians, iliza shlesinger live at zanies comedy club.

twenty || discovered trader joe’s frozen cauliflower crust. in all honesty, adhering to a gluten-free lifestyle isn’t that hard for me. i’ve never really loved italian food and would much rather hoover a jar of nut butter than grab for the bread basket. but one indulgence that i have come to miss is pizza. so when i finally tried trader joe’s caulifower crust, i realized i could have the best of both worlds, without the stomach ache. while it tastes nothing like bread, it provides enough familiarity to satisfy the craving. word to the wise -cook the crust a few minutes longer on each side than the package directions advise. that will ensure that you can actually eat it like a piece of pizza is intended to be eaten -with your hands!

twenty-one || added zara to my list of favorite stores. it wasn’t really until studying in spain the summer between my second and third year of college that i discovered zara and its realm of possibilities. but upon returning stateside, i realized that the zara stores of europe and those boasting domestic zip codes are not one in the same. HOWEVER, in the past year or so zara has really stepped up its game and i’ve found myself ordering more and more from its online store. besides having cute and unique pieces, zara’s price points truly can’t be beat. this blouse and this bag have been two of my favorite purchases of the past year and this short set is bound to get tons of wear this summer.

twenty-two || went to a haim concert. if you were to ask me who my favorite singer/band was 10 years ago (okay maybe 15 years ago?), i would have said britney spears because duh. and while i still hold a candle for ms. spears, my music taste has evolved a little bit over the past decadeplus. now if you were to ask me the same question, my answer would be haim. hands down. every time. i discovered the band of sisters about three years ago during my visit to australia and their debut album days are gone was definitely that summer’s anthem. when they released their sophomore album last summer, S and i decided to download it before our honeymoon so we were never without some good tunes to keep us entertained. our mutual love for haim is one of the zillion reasons i know we’re perfect for each other. so when we learned the sisters would be making a pit stop in san diego during their sister, sister, sister tour, we jumped at the opportunity to see them in person. turns out, they are brilliant live. and their show was so worth the exhaustion we felt the next day having been out past our bedtimes on a school night.

twenty-three || was featured on one of our favorite podcasts. on a whim, i called into S and my favorite podcast, jalen & jacoby in hopes of having my voicemail played on the show. i had a pretty good shot for the fact that on wednesdays they take exclusively female voicemails AND i made sure to do it the week before our 1st wedding anniversary to really tug on the heartstrings. a couple days later, we soon discovered that my voicemail had been picked to air on the show. what a THRILL. it may not mean much to anyone else but to S and me who listen to the podcast daily, it was certainly a highlight.

twenty-four || confirmed the importance of a good tailor. while i’ve all but mastered my sizing at some of my favorite stores, there is always a rogue garment that comes sized a little bigger than normal. case in point, this dress. instead of returning it for a smaller size (which at that point had already sold out), i simply took it to my local tailor and in a matter of a couple days (and a mere $14 later), he had sized it perfectly to my body. speaking of my body, it’s changed a little bit over the last year as i’ve changed my eating habits and kicked up my fitness routine. that in turn has altered the way some of my clothes fit, most notably my jeans. instead of consigning them, i also recently took them to my tailor to have the waist taken in. it was like getting three new pairs of pants! so let this be a reminder to me that i don’t have to accept the fit of a garment straight off the rack. i have the power to alter for a closer and more flattering fit!

twenty-five || discovered some great local coffee shops. over the course of the past few months, S and i have made a point to carve out a moment of our weekend to sample non-starbucks coffee joints in our neighborhood. basically i’ve become a conessouir of almond milk lattes and i can tell you that my favorite of the six-ish places we’ve visited is from revolution roasters. you guys, they make their own almond milk! honorable mentions include baba coffee in carlsbad and philz in encinitas (which we were familiar with having visited their san francisco locations a few times).

twenty-six || fell in love with the fab 5. if you haven’t yet watched netflix’s re-installment of queer eyea) what are you doing? and b) i’m kind of jealous because i wish i could erase the eight episodes from my memory and re-experience them all for the first time. to call this series just a makeover show would be doing it a major disservice. it’s so much more! i literally sobbed at one point in every single episode. and i want to be bff’s with jonathan. the best birthday present ever is the fact that season two premieres in just a matter of weeks on june 15th!

twenty-seven || tried acupuncture for the first time. for someone who tends to favor natural practices over traditional western methodology, i can’t believe it has taken me this long to try this form of chinese medicine. but a sweet studio barre client offered to work on me as she was getting back into her practice following the birth of her two children and i happily jumped at the opportunity to try something new. despite having been to only two appointments, i will say that i’ve enjoyed my experience thus far. it’s crazy to think tiny little needles can have that much impact when placed at precise pressure points on the body. it makes me think about how truly amazing our bodies are and how intricately God designed them to be.

twenty-eight || had my first personal styling client. when i transitioned shawna leeann to a fashion and personal style blog, one of my goals was to also begin offering my styling services. in all honesty, the thought of marketing myself in that realm felt a little daunting so the idea kind of fell on the wayside. but a couple months ago a studio barre client (gotta love them!) approached me after class one day to inquire if i did that sort of thing. YES! we met at our local madewell store (of course) and i helped her pick out a few foundational pieces that she could mix and match for an upcoming european vacation. from there, i also went to her house to assist her with putting together outfits from the existing items in her wardrobe. overall it was such a fun experience and it made me realize how much joy i get from helping others find their style groove. hopefully this session is the first of many more to come!

twenty-nine || developed a unhealthy/healthy obsession with rice cakes. hey every entry can’t be earth-shattering. this year i discovered the deliciousness (and versatility!) of a good old-fashioned rice cake and my eating repertoire has never been the same. i personally prefer the lundberg’s brand of organic brown rice cakes (sold at trader joe’s, natch) smothered with almond butter and a side of apples. it has become my go-to evening snack.

thirty || allowed myself to be vulnerable with more people. i’d like to think of myself as an open book but then again social media often makes it difficult for people to see who you really are and the struggles/insecurities you face that you might not feel comfortable sharing on a public forum. all that is to say, this year i noticed myself wanting to break down the facade a little bit more. i started sharing more personal details with my friends and sometimes with acquaintances and watched the friendships deepen as a result. it made me realize that we’re all just looking for community and the desire to feel like we’re not so alone in our struggle. especially as women. it is shocking how much goes unsaid and unrevealed on account of guilt and shame. besides more authentic relationships, the biggest thing i’ve taken away from this exercise is that when you bring these lurking toxic feelings to the surface, you immediately disarm them from having power in your life. and as someone who tends to internalize everything, this has been a huge breakthrough.

thirty-one || affirmed my love for tasks. if you weren’t already aware, i’m extremely type A. with a hint of OCD. and perfectionism. it’s as much a recipe for success as it is disaster, at least in the emotional sense. but the times when it comes in handy are when ish needs to get DONE. for instance, as we neared our official move-in date on the house, i took it upon myself to update our address with all of our vendors (everything from our amazon account to the DMV) as well as set up the of utilities in our new home. in a matter of an afternoon i had successfully crossed every last business off of my list. i felt so accomplished and soon realized that it’s in the minutia that i thrive.

thirty-two || am learning to trust the timing of my life. last year i mentioned that i was very ready for a baby. a year later, the desire is palpable. i read a quote once that said, “trust the timing of your life.” and it has never felt more relevant than right now. despite wanting to get married in my early 20’s, i realize now that the point at which i was truly ready for that milestone was nearly a decade later. so as it pertains to having a baby, i believe that the timing of this chapter is right where it’s supposed to be. i’ve learned from experience that God’s plan and timing are so much better than anything i can attempt to contrive. so i’m choosing to continue to put my trust in Him and pray that the journey to motherhood will happen exactly as it’s supposed to. rest assured that when i have any sort of announcement, y’all will be amongst to know!

as always, i’m so grateful for this community and for your love, encouragement, and support. here’s to another year of sharing my style, my stories, and everything that falls somewhere in between. cheers to year 33!

p.s. i can’t believe i’ve kept this tradition up for 5 years! read my recaps from year 313029 28.

1 Comment
  • Momma
    June 4, 2018

    You had so many blessings this year, but I know God has more in store. ❤️

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