Thursday, August 1, 2019

30 Things to do Before 30

I turn the big 3-0 in about one month (I know, I know! I never thought this day would come), and being in the last year of my twenties, it got me all nostalgic and thinking of just how much a decade can change you, mold you, and totally direct the course of how the rest of your life will go. 

Not too long ago, I began to think about all of the things that I did, the things I wanted to have been done by now, and perhaps the most surprising of all... the things that I never thought of which became the most treasured.

I, of course, scoured the internet for lists of what should be done by 30, and while some were adventurous... none of them resonated with me. But most of all, none of them were truly fulfilling in the end and of the heart.
So without further adieu, I compiled my own list of things to do before you become 30. These things are not by any means a must (unless otherwise stated), but rather what grew me along the way and helped me realize that life isn't meant to achieve perfection, or "find oneself".

Because truthfully, you'll never find that. Instead, it'll make you run into the same wall like someone with a bag over their head... clueless as to who they are and where they are going.
But rather, growing in character, kindness, truth, and honesty... through all of the opportunities in life, good and bad.
And so here we go!

1. Don't like your job? Quit, like now.

The first one on this list is the one I struggled with all through my twenties. And I'm here to tell you, having a job that is "prestigious" to the world, but your soul is dying inside and you come home crying every other day is not worth it. No matter how much money you make. You are worth much more than what other people think of you. Society has almost brainwashed us to think we ought to have certain jobs. No. If you are a hard worker, make an honest living and are happy... it's enough. And by all means, if you need to sacrifice some time at the job before you actually leave, that's okay too. But please don't stay. It's better to be small in something you love, than making so much money and hating it. Now is a good time to figure it out and try different things before life gets difficult with the years.

2. Take care of your body.
With all the gym craze happening now and diets, workouts, etc... you can get lost and altogether give up. But you don't have to go crazy. Our bodies weren't meant for extreme workouts and diet plans. Simply find what works best for you. If you like the gym, great! If you don't, that's okay too. I grew up eating a Mediterranean diet, in which I eat everything in moderation. I don't overeat, but I also don't deprive myself. Find the balance that's right for you... in your twenties or sooner is the best time to get into a groove, which will help tremendously as you get older.

3. Lose the bad habit!
Aligning right next to health... if you have a bad habit like smoking, drinking, soda, etc... it's not good for you. Better to let go of it now, than you have to forcefully because of health issues in the future.

4. Spend time with your grandparents. 
If you are lucky to have your grandparents still around, please spend time with them. Sit with them, talk to them, eat lunch with them, ask them about their life when they were young, tell them about yours. Just because they are older doesn't mean they don't understand what you may be going through. Their wisdom is often what we need to hear.

5. Travel!
Who doesn't like to travel right?! If you can, visit places you've always wanted to see. The world is truly beautiful, and what better time than when you are young and not as many responsibilities as when you are older? But don't let it become an obsession. Travel to see the world ... not to escape your own.

6. Start that idea. 
Now is the best time to try something you always wanted... you have nothing to lose!

7. Try new hobbies.

8. Learn to cook!
This has been so fun for me I even created another blog for it: La Coltivata It's so important to know how to nourish your body and feed others too with delicious foods you can make!


9. Get financially stable.
Before bigger life decisions happen (marriage, home, baby, etc...) what will help is paying any debts that have accumulated over the years. 

10. Find a good group of friends.

Friends will come and go with the seasons, finding a group that truly love you and encourage you, hope, cry, celebrate, pray for you, and tell you when you're doing something wrong... those friends are a true treasure. 


11. Do not get into a relationship that isn't for you. 
Cute guy! Uhmmm but is he marriage material? Save your heart some trouble and look deeper than looks in a person. Character, honesty, and integrity are what will remain once you see past the sweet words and good looks.

12. Forgive and let go.
Ahh yes. People go through their whole lives harping on what "Jenny" or "Richie" did to them in high school. Forgive them. Even if they didn't ask to be forgiven. We all make mistakes, so forgive and let go. It will set YOU free. 


13. Have a teachable spirit.
Don't be the person who thinks they know it all. Truthfully there is always something new to learn and someone who knows more. Have a good and willing attitude to learn from other people. 

14. Read!

15. Don't be gossip central.

16. Humble yourself.  

The sooner you realize you're not "all that and a bag of chips"... the better off you'll be. We're all people and no one is better than anyone else. No job, money, relationship, social status can change that. Humble people are the nicest. 

17. Tap into your culture/ heritage.
Learn about your roots and where you come from.

18. Learn to speak another language. 

I truly love speaking more than one language. It's like you get to be part of more than one world. 

19. Put yourself out there.
Created something new? Show it off! Don’t be scared… you never know where it could lead.

20. Don't be a follower. 


21. Less phone time, more"real life" time.


22. Start a skin regimen! 

Your 20’s is when your skin starts showing more signs of aging… so be sure to moisturize and start a routine of serums and creams to rejuvenate and maintain that glow. 

23. Explore the area you live in. 


24. Take a class in something you're interested in, just because.


25. Know what's going on the world...

… and then do the opposite. Just because everyone in the world is going one direction or doing one thing, doesn’t mean they’re right. Do what is right, regardless of what is popular.

26. Document. 

Photograph, journal… jot down your favorite memories.

27. Sing!

It makes you joyful. :)

28. Work multiple different jobs.  

Working in different fields will give you experience with different situations and people. It will also humble you to know that no one is too good for any job and everyone starts somewhere. 

29.  Read the Word. 

Get to know who God is. I read the King James Version.


* 30.  Get Saved. *
I've left the most important one for last. If you don't read or care to do anything else on this list... please listen to me on this one and be sure to do.

While I thought I knew who God was, it wasn't until my 20's that I was saved. I thought if you went to church, and "was a good person", and "didn't do bad things"... I was okay with the Lord. That's not true.

In Romans 3:10-12 it clearly states,
// As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. //


None of us are good. Not me, not you, not your grandmother who bakes cookies and is the sweetest. Because we can't compare with each other... the Lord compares us to Himself. And in His perfection, even if we do something as 'little" as having a mean thought towards someone.... we are then just as guilty as a murderer.

Harsh you say huh?

Well yes because God is perfect and He cannot stand sin. BUT, He is also loving, and gracious, extending forgiveness... which is why He sent Himself (Jesus) to cover all of those sins we do.

So what exactly do you need to do? Contrary to what people think, going to church won't save you. Believing in lies like Buddha, Karma, etc... won't save you.

No rosaries, odd ceremonies, long prayers or anything else men invented. It's not about being your cultural religion you grew up with. It's about a relationship.

You need to repent from your sins (stop doing those things that aren't good for you whatever it is and change your life from this point forward), call out to God and ask Him to save you (kind of like you are drowning and a boat comes by and you call out to it), and then accept that Jesus died for you.

"But Barbara, why before 30? I mean I have my whole life and when I'm old for that..."

That's the thing... you don't know if you have your whole life. You don't know how long you have.

2 Corinthians 6:2
// For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. //

The day you make this decision won't magically change your life into perfect. Jesus didn't promise us that while we're here. But He did promise He'll never leave us and one day we'll live forever in eternity with Him. 

I promise you this is the most important decision you will ever make in your life, and in the end, nothing else will matter. 

Will it be hard? Yep. Will it be worth it? More than anything this world can ever offer you. 

Phew!... Well, that's it! I hope you enjoyed reading this extensive list of mine and find that some things can be helpful to your life even if you are over 30!

Thank you so much for always reading the words that I truly pour out of from my heart! ♡ 

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

The R Family

I love when old friends and families let me document their special moments throughout the years. A few months ago I took photos of my college friend's adorable son Benjamin's first birthday... and now her second baby Eliana! I was so excited to take photographs of her beautiful family, here are my favorites from their session.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Freedom Tower & Hudson Yards | NYC

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The summer time is a great time to visit the city. Only minutes over the bridge and I can find myself in New York. No matter how many times you visit, there's always more you can discover... and new attractions being built. 

This time, we visited the One World Observatory aka, The Freedom Tower. It's currently the highest point in New York City... and the views truly make you feel like you're on top of the world once you're up there. 

We then took a stroll at the new Hudson Yards looked through their shops, ate a slice of margherita focaccia in the Eataly and then stumbled upon the new Little Spain and tasted their Patatas Bravas
which were soooo good! I definitely recommend trying them when you go. 

And of course, a visit downtown is not complete without walking along the The High Line. Here's to a summer of adventures!

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hudson yards- new york city- manhattan- nyc

Monday, June 17, 2019

Newport, Rhode Island


We researched where we wanted to discover this year and came upon the charming city of Newport in Rhode Island. Only 3 hours away from North Jersey by car and we took off to spend a few days in the classic coast by the sea. (Guys this was a huge step for me considering I NEVER cross the George Washington Bridge... but I'm proud to say I got over my fear ;). 

We stayed for 3 days, but that was perfect to see all of the major sights. Here is a little travel guide I put together of the top things to do, where to go, and of course what to eat. 

Be sure to bring sweaters and jackets because it is further north and by the sea. We were cold in the evening, and warm during the day!

Crossing the Claiborne Pell Bridge

We stayed at the gorgeous Hotel Viking, built in 1926 and part of the prestigious historic hotels of America. As soon as you enter the lobby area, you can here playful jazz music inviting you in.

The Cliff Walk

We rented a car, but decided to walk to many places around the city. Rhode Island is the smallest state in the United States and is known as the Ocean State. Newport is only 11.39 miles! Also since parking is limited in Newport, we kept our car at the hotel for most of the time and explored by foot. 

The Cliff Walk is along the eastern shore with stunning views of the ocean... resembling the beautiful views of Ireland we saw last year.

As you walk further, you'll stumble upon the Forty Steps and the gorgeous mansions along the coast.


The Atlantic Grille

If you go to Newport, you have to try a lobster roll in which they are famously known for. Most restaurants have it on their menu, I tried it at the Atlantic Grille, which is located in the next town over in Middletown. 

Newport Shipyard

Since Newport is the sailing capital of the world, you can go to the Newport Shipyard and see all of the beautiful sailboats and yachts docked at the port. Newport holds the annual '12 Meter Regatta' in which you can take part and sail away around the New England area. 

Tucked away and hidden behind the shipyard, you'll find Belle's Cafe. The cutest little breakfast and lunch spot. 

We ate breakfast and had a hot cup of coffee before we started our day exploring the city.

The Shops at Long Wharf

Looking to shop for awesome souvenirs? Take a stroll at the shops at Long Wharf, where I found the cutest sweater, baseball cap, postcards, pens, and mug... all must haves when I go on vacation. ;)

The Elms

When you visit Newport, you must visit one of their mansions. The Elms was constructed in 1901, as the summer home of Mr. and Mrs. Edward Julius Berwind of Philadelphia and New York.

To be able to walk through the property will take you back in time to a much simpler life. You can still see the dinner stains on the long wooden table in the kitchen and can imagine the cooks hustling and bustling to get supper ready. 

You'll feel like you belong in The Great Gatsby which was actually filmed at The Rosecliff and Marble House in Newport.

Classic Cruises of Newport

A visit to Newport is not complete without sailing away on one of their sailing tours. We went on the champagne sunset sail and was one of my favorite parts of our trip. The sunset was gorgeous and the tour guides were super nice and friendly!

Later, we stopped at Bannister's Wharf where we found a cute little coffee shop, The Coffee Grinder and enjoyed a cappuccino and homemade chocolate chip cookies. The owner was so sweet and told us she has been running this small business for more than 20 years! She makes all of the treats she sells... definetly reccomend this spot. 

Also, check out Bowen's Wharf for more shopping and cute shops. 

Newport Vineyards

If you love wine, then you need to visit Newport Vineyards. This winery was so beautiful to walk around, breathe in the fresh air... and sample their amazing wines of course. 

We went on one of their wine tours, and we learned so much! The staff was so nice and really informative about the history and process of wine-making. Their tours even include a Newport wine glass you can take home as a souvenir! My favorite was the white merlot. I definiely reccomend visiting when you come to Newport. 

I found a Barbara street!

Another great restaurant located on Thames street, I had the Tomato, Basil & Fresh Mozzarella Bruschetta Sandwich... soo yummy.

Newport is also known for its many lighthouses. Be sure to stop and see one on your trip! We had a great time exploring this charming town... I hope you enjoyed my little travel guide and hope it's helpful for your next trip!