So here we are friends… first of all, we made it to Friday, and this week has been one for the books. Celebrate we will by answering some personal questions, for life is short but sweet, and there have been so many incredible reasons to celebrate this chapter of my life! I cannot thank you enough for sharing in the joy + excitement of so many exciting moments–truly warms my heart and I’m thankful for all of my family, friends and followers for making this time so very special.
With that, I got on IG stories during our morning coffee chats a few days ago because I was bewildered and experiencing a bit of writer’s block… basically I was hoping you’d share what YOU want to read this year for my birthday post. I’m always up for celebrating a milestone [shocking, right??] and so I am answering all the burning questions you sent my way to shed some light on the girl behind Hello Happiness aka @NashvilleTash and everything you’ve been itching to ask:
A D V I C E
What advice do you have for your 20-something-year-old self?
Take each day one at a time and find the things you’re passionate about… they aren’t just your hobbies, they are your calling. Never be afraid to try something new and always find the good in everyday.
What is the best life lesson + piece of advice you’ve learned thus far?
To walk away from people + things that don’t bring joy into your world. It’s OK to say no, and it’s alright to do what is best for yourself. You only get one shot at creating a truly happy life, so don’t waste it on anyone or anything that doesn’t get you to your goals.
What are the top 5 lessons you’d share with your 21-year-old self and hope your girls know?
- Don’t date the bad guys… find the good one and he’ll have your heart for always and forever.
- Family first… the ones who have been there with you all along. Nothing is more important than them.
- Travel as often as you can–nothing fills my heart quite like life’s adventures + going somewhere I’ve never been before.
- Work hard, but play harder… celebrate every single thing you experience
- Be true to who you are… and don’t ever change for anyone!
What is the hardest lesson you have had to learn?
WOW, we are getting deep. I feel like I am constantly learning things each and every day, hence I guess why my grandparents are so wise, but for me the hardest lesson I’ve ever had to learn is that failure is a fact of life. Sometimes we rise and sometimes we fall… but it’s how you pick yourself back up and continue on that matters.
C A R E E R + A L L A B O U T M E
What did you want to be when you grew up?
Oh goodness that changed ALL the time… from an interior designer to an advertising executive to an editor of a fashion magazine, my interests and career goals were ever-evolving [even now I guess they still are]. But I always knew I wanted to do something in life + style because I’m so passionate about it.
Were you in a sorority?
I sure was… I was a Delta Gamma–bronze, pink and blue baby! P.S. if you’re ever thinking about recruitment and sorority life, I highly recommend it… a great way for getting involved on your school’s campus, finding women who will become lifelong friends, volunteering and giving back via philanthropy, and it totally helped me refine my skills for all things community, working with others, etc.
What did you do before becoming a professional influencer?
Once I graduated college [I went to the University of Tennessee and studied Advertising and Business], I started working in corporate marketing for a Fortune 500 consulting firm in Nashville… I created proposals, planned national trade conferences + client events, and helped create in-house marketing materials for engineers.
If there is anything you could change about your life or business, what would it be?
I would love to find a better balance… it’s truly hard for me to “turn it off” at times–even on vacation. That’s the blessing and the curse of being a content creator and social media influencer. It’s not your normal 8 to 5 career, and be prepared for lots of hours, tight turnaround deadlines, and of course the keyboard warriors always looking to belittle you.
Do you and Jeff have siblings?
We do… Jeff has an older sister Jennifer who is 20 months older, and I have a step-brother Justin who is the same age as me.
What was your favorite year or phase of your life?
I absolutely loved my 20s… don’t get me wrong–they were full of fun, life experiences and crazy times with the best of friends, but my 30s have taught me the most important things in life and have challenged me in so many ways and so I feel like I’ve come into my true self during the past five years.
What were your hobbies and interests as a little nashtash?
Dance was always a huge extra-curricular activity for me. I took dance from the time I was 3 years old and kept at it throughout high school when I was on my school’s dance team. Maybe that’s where my girls get their love of dance from! Other things I enjoyed were shopping, hosting sleepovers with my friends, traveling with my grandparents during the summer and going on family camping and fishing trips.
What career did you have before blogging? How did your blogging evolve and turn into a career?
Like I mentioned above, I was in corporate marketing and started my blog as a hobby in April 2008. Fast forward 12 years and here I am… I also ran my own e-commerce children’s shop when the girls were little and then went full-time in blogging in the fall of 2018. P.S. when I started, there were only a handful of bloggers… and by no means was it monetized in any way, shape or form. INSANE how things have changed.
What is your favorite candy? What is your favorite food?
Y’all, this may come as a surprise but I LIVE for food… when I’m eating something, I’m usually thinking about what I’ll have next, and my sweet tooth is fiere. My favorite candy would be Sour Patch Kids, and my overall favorite food is pizza.
What is your favorite vacation destination you’ve been to?
This is H-A-R-D!! Travel is something we love to do and to narrow it down to one place is super difficult. If I could only pick one, I’d have to say Italy [Rome Review + Tuscany Recap]… the culture, history, food, ambiance, views, wine, people–seriously it’s all so amazing, and I cannot wait to take the girls with us next time. And if I have to say a runner up, that would be Turks + Caicos.
What was your favorite memory over the last year?
Getting the opportunity to go on a girls’ trip with my daughters and Mom, all courtesy of Mickey Mouse and the fabulous PR team at Disney for the Creators Celebration [Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3]. It was absolutely beyond anything I could have fathomed and was a HUGE goal to knock off my career bucket list… spending time in one of our favorite places with just us girls = hard to beat!
Are you naturally super motivated or do you work at it?
I’ve always been extremely driven, and I blame that on my parents. They always taught me to do my best at everything I do, and I strive to give 110% to whatever comes my way. Just like anyone, I have “down” days or times when I need a break from it all, but setting goals to succeed help motivate me so much.
What are you grateful for? What has been humbling and hard for you this year?
Goodness we will be here all day if I am making a list of what I’m grateful for. First and foremost, if you’ve been a follower for any length of time, you’ll know that family is #1–my biggest blessing and what I’m most proud of. If nothing else good comes my way, the fact that I have two amazing daughters and a loving husband is more than I’ll ever need. Then comes my parents, family members and closest friends and loved ones… also thankful for the capability to have a career that brings me joy day in and day out, and I am also grateful for my faith, health and ability to see the good in whatever may come.
2020 where do I begin… it’s been a doozy but one where I have learned to persevere, smile through the fear, and it’s shown me how strong I am–I may not have all the answers figured out, but I’ll find a way to make it work and come out stronger.
Where are you celebrating because I want to come?!
It’s adults-only weekend at the lake!!! Obviously not traveling far this year due to the current state of affairs, but taking a few days off for some fun, rest and relaxation with friends we love dearly… no worries, there is plenty of aperol all ready for me!
Where did your 10-year-old self see you at 37?
I always hoped I’d have kids… that was something I desperately wanted in life. Honestly, I didn’t know where I would live because I always dreamed of being in a big city [one larger than Nashville like NYC, LA or Chicago] but I wanted to pursue a career that let me get creative and have fun while doing it! Crazy how life turns out and thankful God brought me where I belong ;).
What do you want for your birthday?
Honestly, there isn’t much I want or need. Sure, we would all love a cure for COVID or to win the lottery, but most of all, I’d love a piece of strawberry cake and I cannot wait for Caroline to play Happy Birthday to me on her violin.
You are such a bright light in this world for so many people! What do you do to stay so positive?
I pray A LOT… I try to meditate at least for a few minutes each day, and I always surround myself with positive and uplifting quotes. I’ve kept a quote journal since I was in college and it’s gotten me through some of the darkest days. I feel like each day is a gift, and I’m never guaranteed a tomorrow, so I live like it’s my last and live without regret.
How are you handling this COVID situation mentally?
It comes in waves… sometimes I’m over it, sometimes I cry in bed and wonder when this will all be over and then some days I try to forget about how much this has altered everyone’s way of life. At the end of the day, I am trying to make smart decisions for my family and our overall well-being and health and trying to stay positive about what’s to come. The going back to school situation has me frazzled, and it’s definitely been mentally draining. I guess more than anything, working out has helped me find a purpose and not get so anxious about the “what ifs” from COVID.
Biggest splurge for yourself?
Handbags are my love language… I absolutely love collecting them and something I plan to gift to my daughters when they are old enough! Other than that, hands down original art is the biggest item I’ve ever splurged on, and it brings me SO much joy that I get to enjoy it everyday in our home.
What was your favorite birthday ever?
OHHHHH that’s a hard one. So many fun birthday parties and celebrations from years’ past, but I think it’s safe to say my best birthday was when my parents took me to Las Vegas for my 21st birthday = no better place to spend your official adult birthday, and we had a BALL. My second favorite would be my 22nd birthday when I went skydiving… so thankful I did it way back when, because there is no way I could do it now!!
Fast forward to your 40th… what is the #1 thing you would have hoped to achieve?
The scary thing is that milestone isn’t too far away. One thing that comforts me is knowing that my friends say their 40s are their favorite decade, so let’s hope that stays true for me as well. I have my “bucket list” of things I want to check off throughout life, but the next big endeavor would be for us to buy a house at the beach. We’ve been looking for the past year and is something we are working for, and hopefully we will be able to have a little beachside sanctuary in our favorite place ever, Rosemary Beach… so fingers crossed all the hard work will pay off, and I’d be happy to celebrate every birthday there!
F I T N E S S + HE A L T H + B E A U T Y
What motivates you to get up and be active every morning?
I’ve always had a driven work ethic… I worked from the time I turned 16 and it’s always helped fuel my purpose. I guess I always wake up with the glass-half-full mentality and want to savor it all… the good, the bad and the in between.
Do you find staying in shape and keeping your weight gets harder with age?
Dear Lord, YES!!!! In my 20s I could eat pretty much what I wanted and it was OK. Now as I am older, I constantly have to work at it but I don’t mind. I enjoy being active and working out and knowing more about what I’m eating/cooking. Again, being in FWTFL has helped me make the most of my nutrition and fitness goals and I feel the best I’ve ever felt.
What do you use for your under eyes? (I’ve tried botox, the best creams… nothing helps!)
Neocutis Lumiere is my go-to under eye cream, especially for combatting those fine lines and wrinkles. I also swear by these gold under eye masks as well as the Dr. Brandt No More Baggage for instant de-puffing and I go to Skin Pharm to treat those crow’s feet with botox every few months as well.
How do you stay motivated to get ready everyday especially during this crazy time?
Honestly getting dressed and “ready” every day helps me tackle my daily to-do list and execute everything I need to accomplish. I will preface that by saying sometimes I’m on day 3 of dirty hair [thank goodness for this dry shampoo!] but having real clothes on truly helps transform my productivity. One of my fav quotes says this perfectly: “if you’re going to rise, you might as well shine”.
How do you not eat ALL the things?
Hahaha… I don’t deprive myself. Now that I’ve mastered the FWTFL lifestyle, I know exactly how to get tight macros while still enjoying the things I love most [i.e. cocktails and desserts]. Having said that, I am pretty strict with my diet throughout the week but let myself splurge on the weekends/vacations/special events/etc. Life is for living and that certainly involves sweets! P.S. it also helps when I am working out 4/5 times a week, too!
Your skin is gorgeous and you look so young. What are your secrets?
First of all, THANK YOU… I’ve been working super hard to reverse time over the past 5-6 years and undo the damage I did to my skin in my teens and 20s [just say no to tanning beds y’all!!]. Having said that, a good chemical peel goes A LONG way… I am also meticulous about my daytime and nighttime beauty routines [read the day here and the night here] and I SWEAR by this at-home microneedling tool!!
Other tips: wear SPF each and everyday [here is a list of my favs], wear hats to keep the sun out of your face [Hat Attack for the win ALWAYS–use NASHTASH30 for 30% off] and of course stay hydrated by drinking at least 1 gallon of water each day!
What is your favorite song to work out to?
You know I LOVE a good playlist, and it’s my biggest helper when it comes to knocking out a killer workout. I always share my playlists via Spotify [username is @nashvilletash if you want to follow] but if I had to select just ONE song it would be “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark” by Fall Out Boy!
Have you had any work done on your face or body?
Open book alert over here… no secrets right?!! Yes, I had a breast augmentation at the end of 2016 [read that post here]+ the six month post-op update here] and I’ve also been getting botox since I was 30 and filler in my lips once a year for the past 2 years.
M A R R I A G E + R E L A T I O N S H I P S
What advice do you have for couples moving in together?
Jeff and I bought a house together and moved in once we got engaged, and I think it helped us grow so much as a couple… learning those little quirks over time, finding out how to live together and make it work was so beneficial prior to us getting married. Of course, he knew I wasn’t going to move in unless he put a ring on it ;). My best advice would be to never go to sleep angry, to do things together [cooking, gardening, etc] and make sure you read The 5 Love Languages!
How long did you and Jeff date before getting engaged? How did he propose? (#ilovelove)
We dated for a year before we got engaged… but were friends for a long time prior to that. I kept turning him down when he would ask me out because we were such good friends and was scared about ruining that relationship if things didn’t work out. As fate would have it, I knew I’d marry him after the first few dates = crazy how things work out and everything happens for a reason!
What tips do you have on keeping your marriage alive?
Similar to what I mentioned above, but being each other’s best friend and closest confidant is extremely important. Always act as a “unit” and keep each other in the know of everything going on in your career/family/friends/etc. Jeff is such a good listener that I always go to him when I need advice. And to keep things fun, don’t forget to date your spouse = monthly date nights are where it’s at [even if they’re at home after the kids go to sleep]!
How long have you been married?
We just celebrated our ninth anniversary on June 11th.
What is advice for single ladies still in their 30s?
I know a lot of ladies who waited until their 3os to get married, and I think a lot of their reasoning makes sense. What you want at 21 isn’t what you want at 30, and your list may change over time. I would advise you to always take a chance, even if you’re scared, and to not be afraid to put yourself out there…. you never know what may happen!
What a total walk down memory lane… I always love answering questions and getting a bit more personal on the blog, so thank you for all the questions you sent my way!!! As for this birthday gal, I’ll be celebrating all weekend long lakeside with some of my besties and thinking about all the goodness that’s still to come for my 37th year… cheers friends OXOX
Do you have any other personal questions you’d like me to answer? Let me know in a comment below!