33 Thoughts on Turning 33

reflecting on life from 2009 - 2019

It’s my birthday!!

Fun fact with this post, it’s been an ongoing one throughout the month of May. I wanted it to be an organic, fun post of 33 thoughts / lessons / things that are on my mind. I loved this post by Taylor Swift so I’m jumping on the bandwagon!

On a personal note, one of my favourite years of my life was 23. It was a really special year for me. It was my last full year of college, it’s when I threw myself in head first in the food & wine world, I spent the entire summer traveling back and forth to New York City, & really felt like the world was mine. I ended up choosing Dallas over New York and sometimes I wonder how different my life would be if I went the other route.

The past decade has been crazy. There were a lot of downs & a lot of ups.

I moved three times & lived in three major cities: Houston {my hometown}, Dallas, & San Francisco.

I spent time working jobs I hated, jobs I loved, unemployed {sometimes by choice, sometimes not by choice}, and even stormed out of jobs, & it all led me to the path I am on now.

This decade was one that really made me the person I am. Sometimes it’s crazy for me to think that I’ve studied & worked with food and wine for 12 {!} years. This decade was full of love & loss. I also met Erik 6 years ago {literally at my worst, btw} and the second I met him, my entire life changed.

SO: I’m sharing, very personally & vulnerably my 33 thoughts, reflections, and lessons I’ve learned from May 28, 2009 – May 28, 2019. Since this post is long & on the way personal side -and- as a birthday present to myself, I’ll be taking the week off. See ya next Monday! x SLS

+++ check out my birthday playlist!

+++ the biggest lesson of my 20’s – I wrote this post on my 30th birhtday

33 Thoughts on Turning 33

1 }: So much has changed from 23 {2009} to 33 {2019}. Sometimes it feels like this decade was a full on century. So much has happened & the world feels like a completely different place from May 2009.

2 }: Everyone says this, but it’s true. Your 30’s are so much better than your 20’s. That said, I love to reminisce on the crazy times in the 20s. It feels so long ago… when in reality it wasn’t!

3 }: I partied HARD in my 20’s, especially between 2011-2013. & tbh, I’m glad I did! I feel like your 20s are for that. Also, I feel like those days in general are just gone. Clubs now are NOT like how they were and it was all before the online era. Let’s just say the last thing any of us wanted was a phone recording everyone’s every move & I used to use my instagram to post blurry drunk selfies at like 3a back in 2012 with the Nashville filter lol OH HOW TIMES HAVE CHANGED.

4 } : Some of the best concerts I’ve ever been to were: Afrojack in 2011 for my birthday {8 years ago to this day wtf!!!}; Deadmau5 in 2011 {we got backstage too thanks to twitter – long but epic story}; Lights All Night 2011 {ICONIC!!!! Tiesto, Benny Benassi, Flux Pavillion}; Avicii in 2012 {RIP}, Calvin Harris in 2012 {it was actually awful but the memories with my friend Kate were next level & I still laugh about them}; String Cheese Festival in Austin 2013 {but especially the after parties at like 12-5a ohhh boy & my phone got stolen lol}; Outside Lands 2015; & Giorgio Moroder in 2016. I’m so glad I got to see so many electronica DJs during that era… I was HUGE into that scene lol but…

5 }: Everything goes away. I was just reminiscing to someone about a place in Dallas that is long gone called Sfuzzi where sooo much went down on the nightly. No joke, it was a pizza place uptown that turned into a ridiculous club as the sun went down lol. So many things you love: places, people, & moments will become just memories so enjoy things while you have them. Even in San Francisco, a lot of places I went to with Erik are gone and I miss them.

6 }: Rescuing my kitten Lucy in 2010 was one of the best things I ever did. Pets make life so much better & brighter. I hug her every single day. that little cat has been quite the jetsetter & lived one very eventful life! PS – she LOVES electronica music and it’s the cutest thing ever.

7 }: I’m more confident than ever that I do not want children. I wondered if I would change my mind, especially as so many people around me have them, they are all over social media, & I have gotten older and really settled down with my life. I’m 1000000% sure I don’t. I really enjoy being a family of just two and that’s just how I’ve always seen my future. I am beyond thankful I found a partner who shares the same views on children / future family of just us two.

8 }: Living with Erik is so fun! It’s like a nonstop slumber party & I am loving every second but I am so glad I spent my entire 20’s living on my own in Houston, Dallas, AND San Francisco. It’s weird to think that I will never live alone {by choice} ever again. Don’t rush to move in with a boyfriend. It’s so fun when it happens but savor the time to yourself or roommates. It’s time you will never get back.

9 }: I don’t talk about life before Erik, but there was a life before him. I’ve had my heart broken more than I’d care to admit. I’m thankful that’s a side of love that I know but I wasn’t taught from Erik {& it makes me appreciate him that much more}. It also took me time to realize that heartbreaks aren’t unrequited either & I have also caused pain to others. I wouldn’t be anywhere I am and this decade wouldn’t be what it was if it wasn’t for my past so I am forever thankful for them. I bring this up not to be nostalgic but it’s easy to look online, not know that pain, & think I’ve just always been “lucky with love”.

10 }: Take a chance on love. I gambled on love & went all in… and hit jackpot. It may sound cute and fun out loud, but I can’t even begin to tell you: I had a lottttt of pushback & was told to my face from so many people that I was an “idiot” or “being a stupid girl”. Could you imagine where I’d be if I listened to that? It’s okay to do things for love as long as they are things you want to do. It’s funny how moving for a job is glamorized while moving for love is looked down on – do what feels right and who cares what anyone says. It’s your life and not theirs {& more times than not, negativity comes out from their own insecurities & has nothing to do with you}. Trust your intuition and heart.

11 }: On another note, anyone I met that I had a bad gut feeling about, my intuition was always right. If something doesn’t add up about someone, it’s not worth getting involved trying to do the math {& make up numbers} to justify for them. One person in particular really caused a lot of chaos in my life in Dallas all because I took her in when I should have kept her out. If someone doesn’t feel right or their story doesn’t make sense, don’t take it upon yourself to figure it out – it’s just not worth it & it may even cost you. Especially when there’s just so many genuine people out there.

12 }: One thing I wasn’t prepared for was “friend break ups”. I’ve dealt with a few: not gonna lie some were pretty easy but some were truly heartbreaking. All you can do is be grateful for the good times vs dwelling on the fall out and move on. Year after year, my circle gets smaller & smaller. It’s extremely tiny now but year after year, I know the people in it have my best interests and I theirs and am fiercely loyal to them.

13 }: Speaking of friendships: An instagram DM / like / comment is not the same as calling or texting your friends. Don’t let instagram get in the way of watering your irl friendships or you will find them wilting. I actually have a rule with myself to not have DM conversations with my close friends as I never want that to be how we communicate {not to mention Facebook Inc. owns all that but that’s a convo for another day}.

14 }: Journaling is something that changed my life & I wish I started it earlier. It keeps me organized, helps me manage my time, & can help me understand my thoughts not to mention it keeps me on track with business. It’s something that has helped me significantly with both my professional & my personal life. If you are feeling lost, just take pen to paper and let your mind go.

15 }: Take care of your skin. It’s something I didn’t do in my early 20’s & I want to grab & shake 23-27 year old Shannon about – especially because the lifestyle she was living NEEDED the extra care to the skin. At the very least, use a face wash, toner {preferably a Japanese lotion}, moisturizer, & a weekly face mask. Also, to Dallas Shannon: stop with the damn tanning beds, even if it’s “just for 10 minutes”.

16 }: Also DRINK WATER. Another thing I want to shake 2009-2013 Shannon about. She was one dehydrated bitch & increasing my water intake has been something that has improved my health as a whole. Especially since I enjoy to drink alcohol & do it often. Staying hydrated is the #1 best thing you can do for your body & skin.

17 }: My 20s were stressful because I spent so much of my time trying to convince myself that I was an extrovert when I’m actually an {extreme} introvert. I don’t know why I wanted to rebel against that so bad but accepting I recharge by solitude, not by being out and about with others was one of the best things I’ve figured out for myself.

18 }: One thing that’s interesting to me is that the people I consider my best friends go as far back as high school. College was fun, sure, but the high school people are the OGs & I’m so lucky to have them {off topic but kind of relevant, my high school only had 80 people in our graduating class so it was pretty tight knit as is}. It’s true that making friends in your 30s is hard but it’s also REALLY hard in a city like San Francisco.

19 }: Speaking of school, I have mixed feelings on college. I got my bachelor’s in 2010 from Houston with a Hospitality Major focusing on Catering & Event Management. & I’ll be blunt: I didn’t learn much, it didn’t help me with jobs, & I regret my major. I had a BLAST & really had the college experience, but in hindsight, it was not worth the cost in time & money. If I did college over, I’d major in Japanese at a different school {& would have studied abroad in Japan} or I wouldn’t go at all & focus on building skills like coding, web-design, & graphic design or work experience through the relationships I had. Times are changing.

20 }: That said, my biggest regret in college was not studying abroad. There was an opportunity in 2007 to go to Angers, France but I didn’t take it. It’s something, now in 2019, I still very much regret.

21 }: When I moved to California in 2013, I’ve always said that, unbeknownst to me, the very ground was shaking. Technology was changing & evolving in a way I could have never expected. Sometimes I feel like my life prior to leaving Texas never happened since there is so little online from it & that makes me sad.

22 }: On that same note, I’m so thankful I took the chance on California. I almost didn’t take the one way flight. I could not even begin to imagine the FOMO I would have experienced by the way social media would then unfurl. I can strongly say it would have been my biggest regret in life. I think about this often.

23 }: Speaking of chances, take them. When I decided to leave Dallas, I was told constantly that if, worst case, it didn’t work out, I could always come back to Texas. I know that sounds obvious, but it’s right & it makes the risks seem a lot less scary. Sometimes, things just don’t work out & it isn’t the end of the world. & the worst case is never really that bad. Especially since…

24 }: Here’s one I’m sure a lot didn’t see coming {I sure didn’t}, but I miss Texas. I love California & I ABSOLUTELY LOVE Los Angeles but… I like Houston better than San Francisco. & I miss it a lot. Los Angeles is still my favourite US city & I really hope to make a home of it soon.

25 }: Forgive people & apologize to people you care about that you hurt. Life goes on & we all grow up. It’s easy to be bitter but it’s much more freeing to forgive & forget. It’s also easy to let your ego get the best of you and an apology can go a really long way {& can even save a friendship/relationship}. There’s the saying that a leopard can’t change their spots but I personally don’t think it’s true. People do & can & will change. I know I have and I’m not an anomaly. The world just keeps on turning.

26 }: There were moments of darkness in the past 10 years, some I thought I’d never get over… but here I am writing this. Whatever you are going through, know it will pass. Take every day by the second & it’s okay to feel or embrace the melancholy / darkness while it’s there.

27 }: My darkest moment of my life was the winter of 2013. I moved to Northern California on a complete whim in the fall of 2013 and I isolated myself from everyone & everything I knew. I write this because as dark as it was, without question, it was the most transformative time in my life. All of the sudden, it was Spring 2014 and I emerged from my chrysalis to a whole new bright world. Everything went into overdrive that April & has yet to slow down. The night is always darkest before the dawn.

28 }: Trends are fake. They are completely made up to drive consumerism. Don’t fall into trends – wear what makes you happy & follow people who empower you vs selling you. It took me a full decade to really hone in on my personal style & grasp this. Ironically, blogging made me truly realize this.

29 } : Speaking of fake, so much of what you see online & especially instagram is fake. Seriously. Not only is it a highlight reel of contrived highlights & made up moments, but so many people fake engagement / comments / like / followers. NEVER COMPARE YOURSELF to what you see online. The grass isn’t greener, it’s fake plants, I promise you that. Instead, get out, disconnect & live life. I actually think instagram is something we will all regret in the future when we look back. It’s why I don’t believe in the platform & I’m pretty vocal about it. {& I don’t believe for one second that Facebook, Inc. has our best interests in mind}.

30 } : If there’s something you want to do with your life, start today. Time truly flies and I have the same people reaching out to me when I first started my blog in 2015 to today in 2019 still talking about how they want to start a blog. I’m using a blog as an example but that’s four full years of talking and not doing. Imagine where you’ll be four years from now if you start today. Ideas are cute & everyone has them but they mean absolutely nothing if there’s no execution.

31 }: When I started my blog in 2015, I thought I was too late. I actually started everything in 2014 but it took me a year to execute because I was such a control freak and I wanted everything to be perfect. There’s no such thing as being “too late” or “perfect”. Don’t let those thoughts stop you from executing or slow you down. What I can tell you for sure is it’s never too late to give your unique view & perspective, especially on a platform that you own.

32 }: Going to Japan was the most life-changing experience for me. I’ve only been twice & I am so fortunate I went for the first time in my twenties. Erik has actually been like 10 times but I’m so glad we went for the first time together. It was one of the most intimate experiences of my life. I have so much love & respect for Japan & their culture. Going to Japan will teach you things no school ever can. We will be doing straight on immersion there very soon so I am excited for that. My biggest wish for the next decade is to be fluent in Japanese, spend more time there and maybe even make a home out of it. My goal for SLS is to intimately work with Japanese brands over the next decade. There’s so much going on there that I’d love to introduce here.

33 }: I was always in such a rush to get to where I am now that I hastily went through years. Looking back, I wish I took time to smell the flowers, really savor where I was at and stop being in such a rush all the time. In hindsight, a lot of those times flew by & I didn’t spend time enjoying the present, I was either stuck in my past or focused on my future. Be present. So many are times & moments you will never get back. Enjoy the journey to your destination, it’s way more beautiful than you realize.

{ pics via the very talented Lily Wolfe }

Leave a Comment


  1. 2.6.20

    Happy Birthday!! What a great post, reflection is so important as we grow 🙂 Enjoy your day! xo Jana | http://www.janastyleblog.com

  2. 2.6.20

    Firstly happy birthday! And secondly I just wanted to say that you bestowed so much knowledge in this post that someone who hasn’t even hit their twenties can take away from. I hope you’re enjoying your birthday and I cannot wait to see what the next years hold for you (hopefully more visits to Japan or a move to LA?) Anway thanks for sharing!

    – Avalon from http://www.simplyavalon.com

  3. 2.6.20
    SundayDahlias said:

    One of my biggest regrets is not studying abroad during college as well. I feel like it would have been an amazing and irreplaceable experience during that time in my life. I went to Japan for my honeymoon and loved it! I miss it so much too and hope I can go back soon!


  4. 2.6.20
    Matttttie R said:

    I loved this! Great lessons! I’ve learned a few of them myself