Brooklyn, NY

I turned 30 over the weekend!  And I gotta say, it feels DAMN GOOD.  Truth be told, I’ve wanted to be 30 since I was 9 years old.  I’ve always been a very, very old soul and never felt like I 100% fit in with my peers throughout middle school or high school.   Being an adult seemed so much cooler than being a kid.  I remember standing in my childhood bedroom, dreaming of going to my high powered job, wearing a pencil skirt and heels in my floor to ceiling window, corner office in NYC.  Yep.  Some kids dreamt about Barbies and the weekend – but that’s what I dreamt about haha!

Well, here I am today, age 30, living out my dreams.  I am so incredibly grateful for everything I have – and the life I am living is even better than I imagined at age 9.  I wanted to share 30 things I’ve learned about myself and others over the past 30 years to celebrate and mark this new chapter!

30 Things I’ve Learned At 30

Attitude is everything

I’m a glass half full person and that has really served me well in life.  Life doesn’t always go our way, and sh*t happens.  I somehow always find the bright side of anything.  You can find a silver lining in any situation if you try.  If you take every hurdle and obstacle as a lesson, and understand that each one is teaching you something, you will be able to move on and grow from it.

Meditation is life changing

I’ve meditated every single morning for the last 3 years straight.  I’ve never skipped a morning – and that’s because it makes me feel like I can do anything.  It’s my kryptonite – I’m serious.  I don’t just do any meditation – I went to a class and learned how to practice Vedic meditation which is a silent 20 minute practice that athletes, CEOs and leaders around the world do.  Meditation has made me smarter, sharper, nicer, more patient, more athletic, and most importantly, happier – which makes sense since it’s been scientifically proven to do just that.

Keep your inner circle small

I used to want to be friends with everyone.  Now, I am simply FRIENDLY to everyone, and have narrowed down my circle of friends so that it is only my ride or die people that get my undivided attention.  It’s impossible to maintain a million friendships and give them all enough time and energy.  Trying to do so will drain you.  So start pairing back now if you haven’t already.  I re-evaluated my friendships BIG time when I was 28 and 29 – especially after moving to LA.  I felt guilty at first, like I was doing something wrong, but at the end of the day, if it feels like a “job” or chore – or you feel drained after seeing someone, then that’s just not a ride or die person for you.  It doesn’t mean you can’t still be friends with them, but just pull away and start putting all of that good energy you have into friendships that REALLY nourish you.  Remember your best friends are people who should love you unconditionally, and lift you UP not suck your energy.

Pay attention to energy

Women are very intuitive.  If you’re creeped out by a guy when you walk into a room, or get a bad feeling from someone when you meet them, or have a bad gut instinct about a business deal – pay attention to that.  I’ll give you an example of when I didn’t listen to my gut about a business deal.  I decided to work with a company that a ton of other super successful bloggers work with.  They were extremely rude and snobby, but that was all a part of their facade and act to seem exclusive which I fell for!  The whole time we were negotiating/talking I felt icky and I had such a bad feeling in my stomach, but I completely ignored that inner voice because of that exclusivity factor (which I now feel so stupid for falling for!)  Well, my gut instinct was totally right and the people were awful, unprofessional and totally disorganized.  They didn’t have my best interest at hand at all and overpromised and underdelivered.  They actually tried to trick me and added this crazy clause in a contract which thank goodness my lawyer caught, but seriously why did I want to do business with these people so badly in the first place?  Oh yeah, cause they seemed cool.  NEVER AGAIN.  Lesson learned – trust your gut.

You don’t have to like everyone, and not everyone will like you

This is a fact.  Accept this and you will be SO MUCH HAPPIER.  Stop worrying about what other people think of you.  “You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches.”  And on the other spectrum, stop forcing yourself to like someone.  If you don’t, you don’t – that’s ok!  Be respectful and kind, but remember that we are all different.  If we were all the same – can you imagine how boring the world would be?  No personality!  No color!

How someone treats you is a direct reflection of how they feel about themselves

My therapist told me this years ago, and it’s SO TRUE.  You know those people who just radiate joy, love, happiness and are so supportive and uplifting every time they see you?!  It’s because they LOVE themselves, and they feel joy and happiness within, so they are able to share that with you and others.  On the flip side, you know those people who are negative, haters, judgemental, and big ol’ grumps?  It’s because they don’t feel good about themselves and went through things in life (often trauma) that you or I may never be able to understand.  They are the people that actually need love the most, so try and be understanding and don’t take anything personally (I know it’s hard not to!)  Often times people who are hurting on the inside are simply projecting that hurt in various ways to the outside and you may just be a target/in the line of fire that day.

Do not take anything personal

This goes off my above point.  I know it’s difficult not to, but honestly most of the time, like I said, people are just taking their frustrations, distractions, boy problems, PMS cramps, you name it – out on whoever is in front of them.  If your boss is mad at you for a mistake you’re directly responsible for, again, don’t take it PERSONAL, and avoid getting emotional, just accept the feedback and make a change.  Do better.  Handle it and move on.  Be professional.  Swallow your pride and learn from it – you got this!

Accept people for who they are

It took me a LONG time to be able to do this.   I used to try and change certain friends or family members and I would exhaust myself giving them advice or I would try to hold their hand every step of the way.  At some point, I realized a.) I do not have all the answers (shocker!) b.) I need to let people live their lives c.) If I want them in my life I need to just be SUPPORTIVE and accepting.  Sure, I still give friends and family advice, but you’ve gotta just believe that everyone is doing the best that THEY can and let them be.  Often times it’s best to just LISTEN (and that’s what people really want anyway) then give your two cents.  This is especially true with that one friend you know who has been dating the same toxic guy for 3 years!

Social media can be toxic

I am so glad I got to be a young 20 something, free of Instagram and the intensity of social media.  Yes, I know it’s a huge part of my job, but I also see how incredibly toxic it is.  People posting pictures of themselves everyday to get LIKES and COMMENTS from strangers?!  And people with more likes and comments are somehow ranked better than others?  Comparing our lives to other people’s glossy, edited, perfect looking moments that really only show a small sliver of their actual lives?!  And the pressure of looking a certain way and constantly being “on” and documenting your every move?  It’s a lot!  I know I don’t have to tell you – we all think this and can relate!  I absolutely struggle with this sort of skewed reality/perspective that this platform has created and I’m not really sure where it’s going to go or what’s going to happen with it all, but until then, I’m just going to keep creating content I love and I’m proud of.

Diversify, Diversify, Diversify

Some people say you should hone in on one thing you’re good at – and focus on that and only that.  Well, I say don’t put all your eggs in one basket.  What if you put your life savings in one big project that goes south and you lose everything?  You want to displace the risk and have a few burners going at once.  Don’t rely on one source of income. Don’t invest in only one type of thing.  Should there be one thing you focus on more than the rest?  Absolutely, but always have a backup plan and focus on having multiple skills.

Be nice to everyone

The world is a very, very small place.  What comes around goes around.  KARMA.  Be nice it doesn’t cost a damn thing.  That intern could and probably will – end up being the VP of the company someday.  Pay it forward.

Save your money

When I was younger I was terrible about saving.  Luckily a few years ago I started saving and am SO glad I did.  You never know what could happen.  For example, I got in a car accident years ago and had thousands of dollars of out of pocket expenses.  Thankfully I was able to cover it.  For those of you wondering how I save, I use an app called QAPITAL that helps me set spending and saving goals, transfer $ to and from my savings and lays everything out super clearly for me.

Invest in quality, staple pieces

If you’ve been following With Love From Kat since Day 1, you know my style philosophy; “Invest in classic, staple pieces you’ll have for years to come.”  I avoid trends and instead pick quality items that will last season after season, and can mix and match with anything in my wardrobe.

The Instant Pot is a game changer

It will change your life!!!  It makes pasta in 4 minutes.  Rice in 12 minutes.  A delicious stew in 10 minutes.  You guys know I’m about to start a fan club right?

Never take advice from anyone you don’t want to be like

A friend’s dad told her this and she passed this helpful little tidbit along.  I love this phrase!  It’s so true!  Be careful who you listen to!

Don’t be a gossip

There’s a quote I love by Eleanor Roosevelt; “Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people.”  Gossip gets you nowhere, start thinking big and go out and make sh*t happen.

Find a good therapist

I don’t currently go to therapy, but I did for many years and found it so helpful!  It’s especially great if you’re going through a shift with your job, relationship, friendships, family, etc.  Remember, NEVER settle for a therapist.  Interview multiple before choosing THE ONE you vibe with and like.  There are many fish in the sea – they’re not all going to be the right one for you.

Take care of yourself before you HAVE to

I eat healthy because I want to feel good, look good, and live a long life.  I healed my gut and digestion through juicing and eating primarily gluten + dairy free.  Also, I no longer have insane stomach pains or reactions/inflammation after consuming some of my favorite foods like a big bowl of pasta – but does that mean I eat a big bowl of pasta every single day now?  No.  It’s a TREAT and I maintain a healthy lifestyle to continue feeling good and for longevity.

Read your food labels

Don’t fall for marketing and packaging!!!  Don’t fall for a pretty, colorful box that says something is healthy or the new superfood!!!  What does it have in it?!  If you don’t know what the ingredients are don’t eat it.  If it has more than 5 ingredients and is highly processed think twice.  Just because it’s from Trader Joe’s and says organic and vegan doesn’t mean it’s healthy.

Don’t fall for health industry tag lines

This follows on the above – which is remember the health industry is a billion dollar business!!!  An article could say “Black beans are the new superfood – we should all be eating them!”  But you may be allergic and they could make you sick!  We are all different – just because one person or one article or one TV show says something is good for you, doesn’t mean it is.  Before jumping on any bandwagon, find at least 3-4 articles that support AND contradict it.  You should always compare info and make an educated decision on your own.  Then of course do trial and error and listen to your body.

Eat intuitively

Don’t diet.  Don’t be die-hard this diet or that.  Being too restrictive sets you up for disaster.  I like eating healthy 80% of the time and indulging 20% of the time.  No, I do not have a calculator and measure this % out with every morsel of food I eat!  This is just a phrase and a ballpark for my “lifestyle” eating choices.  Sometimes it’s 70/30, and sometimes it’s 50/50 – you get the idea.  I listen to what my body is craving and needs.  I listen to my hunger signals.  Also, I didn’t used to be able to do this – but through juicing in the morning and intermittent fasting I am able to.

Pick and choose your battles

Life is too short.  Don’t waste your precious time and energy fighting something that’s probably not worth it.  Don’t get upset over something small in the scheme of things.

Animals cure loneliness (and are just the best)

My life is a million times better with my dog Charlie.  I lived and worked alone for years and hated coming home to an empty place.  When I got Charlie – he completely changed the vibe in my house and me!

Stand up to sexism

I have experienced sexism SO MANY TIMES in my life.  It’s really frustrating and sad and I know it continues to happen to so many of you too.  Something snapped in me this last time it happened (about 6 months ago) and I vowed to not be too shy, or polite or to “laugh” it off the next time it happened.  It hasn’t happened since then (perhaps because my energy has shifted and I am putting out that I will not accept, allow or tolerate that), but if it does happen again, I am prepared.  As women we have every right to stand up for ourselves and we cannot continue to support this pattern.  It can be something so simple as just saying, “You know that made me really uncomfortable” in the moment.  I know sometimes it catches us off guard and it can be hard to get the words out, but practicing and preparing yourself will help!!!

Men don’t care about stretch marks or your “imperfections”

Seriously they don’t.  They love your body just the way it is.  It took me years to figure this out!  They don’t look that closely I swear.  They’re way more oblivious than you realize.  Not only do they not notice or care about stretch marks or cellulite, they don’t care about that fat roll either.  Or if your thighs are feeling huge.  They actually get really annoyed when you talk negatively about your body so shut that little inner critic up and be proud of your bod!!!!

Manifestation is real

You can do anything you put your mind to.  Manifest it – and read The Secret.  I’ll give you a CRAZY example of this.  I told one of my friends to create a vision board with magazine pictures and write specific things she wanted on the back of it.  One thing she wrote was “I want a black pug named Sid.”  I was kind of shocked at HOW SPECIFIC she got there, BUT guess what happened.  2 weeks later, she found an adoption flier in her neighborhood for a black pug named SIDNEY.  So yeah the universe will absolutely give you what you ask for – you just have to ask for it.

Never assume anything

This applies to everything; people, places, events, things, dating!  With regards to work stuff – it’s best to be as thorough as possible and lay out every single detail – no matter how much of a no-brainer you think it is especially if you’re a manager or business owner.  With everything else I always like to manage my expectations, walk into a situation OVERLY prepared, be clear/upfront about my intentions and have an open mind!

Stay true to yourself

This is hard.  There are times when I haven’t stayed true to myself.  And each time I’ve been shown why I should have in one way or another.  As a creative, it can be REALLY hard not to get swayed or influenced by others, but dig deep and persevere.  And keep doing YOU.  In the end, your uniqueness will stand out.

Be vulnerable

It can feel scary to be vulnerable.  To a friend, to a loved one, to complete strangers – even to ourselves.  Often times, and I know this too well, we just keep going and going, trying to survive, trying to make it, trying to keep it all together that we turn off our feelings and forget to ask ourselves what we really need.  If you’re feeling a bit lost or hurt – I highly recommend reading Brene Brown’s books – especially Daring Greatly.  That book really helped me!

Don’t ever lose your inner child

I’ve mentioned this in a blog post before, but never lose your inner child!  Even though I always wanted to be an adult and I love the responsibility of running a business, and all the things that come with being a grown up – I never want to be too serious and/or forget to have FUN.  Life is meant to be enjoyed.  Embrace your silly side and gravitate toward people who make you laugh until you cry and you’re doubled over in stomach pain ;)


Marchesa Notte dress (also love this one and this one)
Kayu clutch c/o (similar, similar)  |  Valentino pumps (similar)
Missoma necklace c/o  |  Heather Gardner lariat necklace

Carly Tumen Photography

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