Cheers to 21 Years


As I approach my 21st birthday and as my third year of college is creeping close to an end, I cannot begin to think of how many life experiences I have come across in such a long (but feels short) period of time. Growing up as an only child, I would like to think that I have surprisingly turned out as a ‘social butterfly’ and learned to become such a people person. As shy as I can be at times, I wouldn’t think that to this day that I would be writing on my own blog, meet the people I met, and traveled so far away from home at such a young age. Yes, 21 years of age, is the legal drinking age here in the States but by taking a step back, there is more to be thankful for in my years past other than being thankful for finally making it to the legal years of drinking alcohol.

 photo credits:  Lauren Nieves
photo credits: Lauren Nieves

21 things that I am thankful for:

  1. To my dearest parents,
    For those many of you who don’t know me well, I do have divorced parents. As scary of a topic as it is to talk about and go through, sometimes things happen for a reason. To my incredible mother AND father, thank you for ALWAYS believing in me and helping me chase my dreams. I was never the most patient child to work with growing up, but thank you for teaching me the rules of life. One day I hope to be as selfless as the both of you are to my own children
  2. To my amazing family and friends,
    To those who are currently supporting me in my present life, to the friendships from the past, and to the friends and family who are no longer here — little do you know how much of an impact you have created in my life. One of my strongest support systems, you all have taught me how to find myself and molded me into the person that I am today.
  3. To all my past/present relationships,
    Thank you for showing me how love, not just how to love another ‘half’ but how to love myself. Even though things didn’t work out in the past, I have learned that patience, communication, and unconditional love come a long way. You have shown me my self worth —  that the little things that truly make a difference and what the do’s and dont’s are in a relationship.
  4. My faith. I am Catholic and yes I do practice and attend mass every Sunday. I believe that my faith is a HUGE reason of where I am, to this day. There is something about being able to sit and reflect and pray that gives me some sort of sanity.
  5. All of the people that I have worked for, I have been working since I was 17-years-old. I did work by choice, my parents were the ones who told me to focus on school because I will be working for the rest of my life. But it is because of my very first job and my very first boss, Quinn Karsten (we still keep in touch by the way), who has presented me to such a strong work ethic. Quinn, seriously if you are reading this, I would not have come out of my little shell and be where I am today in terms of work and the fashion industry.
  6. My cultural background. My parents are both from the Philippines, I have a little bit of Spanish descent, my great grandfather on my father’s side is from Madrid, Spain. As “white washed” as I may seem sometimes, I am actually able to speak conversational Tagalog (Filipino Language) but it is way easier for me for someone to speak to me in Tagalog and for me to respond in English. Did I mention I love visiting the Philippines? Seriously so beautiful and I have so much more of that country to explore.
  7. Having a BIG family. Yes I am an only child but each my mom and my dad have SEVEN brothers and sisters. In total, I have around 26 cousins from both sides of my family. I am very close with both sides of my family and I wouldn’t want it any other way. There is much love and so many nieces and nephews to adore.
  8. The generation I grew up in. Old Disney shows, communicating through house calls or using AOL, actually playing outside. I was able to see the transformation of technology literally flash before my eyes.
  9. The gift of traveling. I have currently been to four of the seven continents (North America, Asia, Australia, and Europe). This summer I will be traveling to Chile in South America to visit one of my best friends, studying abroad there!
  10. Columbia College Chicago. As many up and downs I have had at this school, I will always be thankful for the people that Columbia has brought to me and all the connections and opportunities I have made during my three years here.
  11. Chicago. I have always been a city girl. Chicago will forever be my home and I will always be thankful for all good food, activities, and neighborhoods that Chicago has to offer. No matter what city I end up in, Chicago will always have a special place in my heart.
  12. FASHION. Without the art of fashion and the gift of clothing, I would not be the person I am today. I am amazed by the art of fashion and how the way a person dresses is a way to express oneself. I am majoring in Fashion Business and minoring in marketing. I have been all over place with what I would like to do with my life after college, after exploring and soul searching, as of right now I would like to be a Fashion Director.
  13. Gossip Girl + The Hills. (Major shoutout to Blake Lively and Lauren Conrad, my #1 girl crushes). I know these are TV shows but this is where I have received most of my fashion inspiration!
  14. Good FOOD. I used to be the pickiest eater growing up (sorry mom and dad). Little did I know there was a world past chicken nuggets, french fries, and pizza. You may all think this is funny but there were times when that’s pretty much all I’d eat until I was about 7 years old, and I am so surprised how NOT chubby I am to this day. (LOL) My weaknesses are Chinese and Italian food, but don’t get me wrong I love a good cheeseburger and chicken fingers from time-to-time.
  15. Sweet & savory. I have all been a sucker for salt foods, especially chips and fries. I am not too much of a sweet tooth but I am a sucker for Kit Kats and chocolate ice cream!
  16. Fitness. Growing up I played volleyball for 7 years and did 4 years of club volleyball. Thanks to Anna Victoria, I have been inspired to stay fit with HIIT and eat cleaner. I bought her program in 2016 and I have definitely seen progress when I really put my mind and heart in it! On top of my internship, I actually just got a job at Xsport Fitness at the Spa and I finally will have a consistent work, school, and workout schedule. I believe that the gym is a perfect place to escape and there are NO MORE EXCUSES. This is my wake up call to get my butt in the gym.
  17. All things beauty. I have always been a girly girl. I know that “less is more” and “natural is the way to go” BUT I have always been fascinated with the art of make up. I grew up at a Catholic School my whole life before college and I have always been into make up but just didn’t know how to apply it correctly. I met some pretty amazing people at Columbia who taught me so much. I love all things make up, curly hair/braids, face masks, getting my nails done once a month with my mom, etc.
  18. Interior Design/DIY. I have always been into HGTV and I am currently obsessed over the show Fixer Upper right now. I could crying walking into Target and see the Magnolia Hearth & Hand section by Chip and Joanna Gaines. I love to decorate and make things look pretty.
  19. Summer + Autumn. My FAVORITE seasons of the year. I love the warm summer weather and the hustle and bustle of people on the street. The sun just puts me and everyone else in better moods. I love autumn because of fall fashion, the perfect layering weather! I also love when the trees change colors, having a bonfire, perfect hot chocolate weather.
  20. The beach. I’m a sucker for sun kissed skin (in my case I get pretty brown). There is something about the sound of the waves, feet in the sand, reading a good book, watching the sun rise/set that makes me feel at peace.
  21. 21 things was definitely challenging and was a long list of things to go in depth and be thankful for. But I am most thankful for every morning God has given me and woken me up. There is still so much to learn, so many places to see, new people to meet, and I am no where near done exploring this crazy thing we call life.

Thank you all my readers, friends, and family for your love & support. Here’s to 21 years and hopefully many more years of good health and a good life. 18 days and counting until my birthday!

xoxo — Bree

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