3 Lessons Learned During Year 35 (P.S. Today I Turn 36)

Published in: Just For Fun

I’ll never forget the wise words of a Sephora associate just before my birthday last year. I was a little cranky about turning 35 until she said, “You should be happy because some people never make it that far.”


Yup, that put me in check RIGHT QUICK.

My year 35 had its ups and downs, but for the most part it was great. I learned a lot of valuable lessons, a few of which I tend to re-learn over and over again like…

1. Avoid uncomfortable shoes

NOTE TO SELF: If a pair of shoes hurt within the first minute of trying them on, chances are they’re not the right shoes for you (no matter how cute they are!).

Hurts so good!

2. Trust your instincts…

Because they’re rarely wrong. That inexplicable gut feeling deep down inside is there for a reason. It’s like an internal compass, sometimes guiding us away from danger, other times nudging us toward golden opportunities.

A few months ago I ignored my compass, and I’m still kicking myself today. Last fall I spotted American Vogue Creative Director Grace Coddington sitting by herself across from me in a room. I’d always wanted to meet her because I love her work (and I know she’s a cat lady). She seemed approachable and didn’t appear to be busy. My gut was telling me to walk over and say hello, maybe also show her some of the 4,677 pictures of Tabs on my phone, but I was intimidated and couldn’t bring my legs to move.

Yup, there’s an opportunity not likely to come along again.

3. Only you can control the way you respond

You can’t control what the person next to you says or does, or what the weather’s like. The only thing that you (or I) can really control is how we respond — to good news, bad news, hardships, challenges, kind words, mean words, bad days, great days and ungrateful tabby cats. Sometimes, we may not respond well immediately (like when we’re completely overwhelmed), and that’s okay, but ultimately we’re the only ones who can turn things around.

“You are responsible for your own happiness,” the saying goes. I think that’s easier said than done when things are really bad, but I do think it’s true. Your happiness is not the responsibility of your partner, or your parents, or your husky tabby cat.

Have you celebrated a birthday recently (if so, happy belated bday! ), and do you feel like you learned any lessons from your last year?

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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  1. Vijaya says:

    Well, some shoes need time to be broken in. Others you convince yourself just need some time to be broken in. *coughcough*

    Anyway, have a gret birthday and many happy returns. <3
    Vijaya recently posted … Shiro Cosmetics Review- Science Collection Part 1

  2. Toni says:

    Happy Birthday, Karen! I hope you have a fabulous day and that your hubby and Tabs treat you like a queen! Great lessons – thanks for sharing them with us. 🙂

  3. Sara says:

    Happy birthday Karen! You look amazing!! (Tabs too!!) xoxoxoxozxo

  4. lisajay99 says:

    Happy Birthday! Too bad about the shoes, I love them! Have a wonderful day – reminds me of what my grandpa Stew always said when people complained about getting older – “Consider the alternative!”

  5. Amber says:

    Happy birthday Karen! Enjoy your vacation!

  6. Karina says:

    Happy happy birthday! 🙂
    Karina recently posted … From the Owldrobe and FOTD- Ode To Summer

  7. Jenna Novotny says:

    Happy Birthday! I turned 25 on Monday. I’ve definitely learned to appreciate how fortunate I am in life, how to make new friends (in college it was so easy, not so much anymore!) and to enjoy myself more!

  8. Adria says:


  9. Tiffany says:

    Happy Birthday!! As I approach my own 36th birthday next Tuesday, I could really relate to your lessons learned….Too bad we don’t get the benefit of that wisdom at 25!! 🙂

    I hope you have a fabulous day with all the pampering and celebration you deserve!

  10. Sonja says:

    Happy birthday Karen!!!!!!

    Have a great day!!!

    p.s. Love the lipgloss!

  11. Nika says:

    Happy birthday Karen! You’ve been my favorite blogger (and your website has been on my bookmarks bar) for years!! Keep doing what you’re doing and have a fabulous day and year ahead. 😀
    Nika recently posted … May Haul

  12. Tiffany says:

    Happy birthday!! I hope tabs treats you well today 🙂 you seem to get more beautiful every year!

  13. steph b says:

    Happy birthday! I hit 39 a couple of weeks ago. My lesson for the past year —

    — Be comfortable with where you are even as you plan for what comes next. If you get too anxious, you’ll get in your own way.

  14. Fieran says:

    Once again, Happy Birthday. You look amazing. If you didn’t mention it, I would have not guessed you were 36. 30 maybe.

    Totally agree with your Lesson #3..that is something I learned from the bf when we were friends. I used to get upset and offended very easily but learning that I do have control over how I react/respond has made me a calmer, more relaxed person.

    Similarly I learned that there’s no use worrying over things I cannot control. Just a waste of time and energy.

    Take care, Karen! Have a good vacation in Vancouver and please buy some Lululemon on my behalf 🙂 She makes great headbands that I use for the gym. Keeps the hair in place for sure.

  15. Denise says:

    Happy birthday Karen! My birthday is in a month, and I’ll be in a sentimental mood soon. Thanks for the sharing the great lessons 🙂
    Denise recently posted … Blossom with Maybellines Lip Smooth Color Bloom

  16. Lisa says:

    Well said Karen! You are wise beyond your years. I read your blog daily (actually like 5 times a day) and I love your outlook. And your taste in snacks. Happy Birthday Chica!

  17. Tracy says:

    Happy Birthday Karen! Hope it’s a fab day for you and a great year ahead!
    Great lessons learned. For me I learned to not be taken advantage of anymore, and left my job because of that. Still deciding what to do, but thinking about going back to school!
    Tracy recently posted … Summer Purse Essentials

  18. Chai says:

    happy birthday, & thanks for the tips! a change in perspective can be such an awesome thing when getting older

  19. Happy Birthday! #3 is a very wise lesson.
    Beautiful Canvas recently posted … Summer Perfect Teal- Sinful Polish in Apple Mint

  20. Sarah says:

    Enjoy your day Karen! And thanks for the lessons 🙂
    Sarah recently posted … Too Cute Cosmetic Minis

  21. AK says:

    Happy birthday, Karen!!! Hope you have an awesome day, and have FUN up there in Vancouver. I hear it is beautiful and captivating. Very good words of wisdom, thank you for the reminder. It’s always good to hear truth like that – especially the last one on the list. I totally agree with you – no one can cultivate your peace and happiness but yourself. But once you get into the habit, it becomes easier each time 🙂 And that’s a good thing!

    Holla at your fellow gemini! I celebrate my birthday next week 🙂


  22. Kelly says:

    Happy birthday fellow Gemini!

    I turn 39 next week (unbelievable to me). My lesson in the last year was – keep on moving forward and try not to look back too often. Nothing will get accomplished if you stop moving forward.
    Kelly recently posted … MAC Prep Prime Beauty Balm SPF 35 Photos- Swatches &amp Review

  23. Rosemary says:

    Happy Birthday Karen!!!!!! My birthday was in April and I felt the same way you did when you turned 35, except I just turned 24. I know I should be grateful, but it hit me hard when I realized I would be held completely responsible for my actions and future. Anyway, guess I should be happy, everyone’s doing it….

  24. Andrea says:

    Happy Birthday! I’ve been reading your blog for awhile now and felt that I HAD to comment on this one. Hope you have fun on your trip. Me and my son will be going on a trip at the end of the month to see his dad. He’s stationed in Kansas and this will be the first airplane ride for our 3 yr old. NERVOUS! Hope you have a wonderful day.

  25. Jen says:

    Happy Birthday! I hope Tabs is extra cuddly to you today. ^__^

  26. nisha says:

    Happy Birthday Karen…you look fabulous!!! May all your wishes come true. Your writing is truly inspiring and I enjoy reading your blog every chance I get. I wholeheartedly believe in listening to your gut, although it doesn’t always make sense at the time eventually everything becomes clear. xoxo

  27. Simo says:

    Happy BDay Karen!! *<:)
    those are wise words from you, girl
    thanx for sharing

  28. BettyS says:

    If those shoe straps are leather, you can work in some rubbing alcohol on the inside of wherever they’re pinching, put on some thick or double-layered socks (dyes from the shoe can leech out from the application of rubbing alcohol and permanently stain those socks, so if you don’t have old socks, wrap them up in shrink wrap) and walk around the house. The rubbing alcohol will stretch leather. I worked in a great pair of leather ballerina flats that way, and I had almost given up on them.

    I celebrated my 33rd recently, and felt a bit grouchy, and then I realized that not only do I look pretty darn good for “my age,” I have a wonderful hubby and a beautiful toddler son who just love me no matter what.

  29. Melinda says:

    Happy Birthday, Karen!
    Yes, I, too turned 24 four days ago 🙂

    From one year of being 23 I learned mostly that things will work out just in time. I had a delay in graduating from university and then I took quite some time to get a job. But “all in good time” really means so 🙂

    hope you’re having your greatest birthday *period* :)) all the best!

  30. Chris25 says:

    Happy birthday, Karen (and my fellow cat lady)! The 3 lessons you posted are absolutely spot on. After many years I am still trying to trust my instincts.

    Have a great day!

  31. Caity says:

    Happy Birthday Karen! You’ve had a big year, hope the next one’s even better!

  32. Rae says:

    Happy Birthday, my beautiful Karen! ♥

  33. swapna says:

    Happy Birthday Karen !

    First time commentor , your blog is my beauty inspiration ,and I (a dog lover) have sorta started liking cats too because of Tabs 🙂

    Hope you have a great day and year!

  34. Advah says:

    Happy fantastic birthday, Karen! As a present, here are some photos of cats photobombing cats http://www.buzzfeed.com/mjs538/25-pictures-of-cats-and-dogs-photobombing-each-oth

    I turned 27 a few weeks ago (I’m in denial, let’s pretend I’m 25) and the last year hasn’t been very good at all. That got me thinking a lot about your point 3 actually, although I’m lost for how to do that!

    I hope you have a wonderful time in Vancouver!

  35. Brenda says:

    Happy Birthday Karen!

  36. Taffy says:

    Happy B-Day & have a good one!
    Taffy recently posted … Anna Calvi &amp Bullish On OPI

  37. Indoorkitty says:

    Happy Birthday Karen! And oooh are you in my fair city of Vancouver for long? The weather is iffy today but the sun might come out in the afternoon!

  38. Andrea says:

    Happy Birthday Karen, I’m just 30, Good things u shared today. They are true and Usefull to remember.
    I just had my driving lessons theoretic exam I did change one question sing boards and that change did cost me 🙁 I had too mistakes but maybe just maybe if i didn’t change that one they did pass me 🙁 So go for your Guts instincts is really true.( sorry for over sharing am just upset )

  39. Bell says:

    First of all, Happy Birthday Karen! I’m from Brazil and I always read your blog and love it 🙂
    I’m not celebrating my birthday recently (only on november!) and I’m not 35 or 36 yet (I’m 25), but I can totally understand your lessons learned! The last one I learned on the hard way was to avoid unconfortable shoes! But seriously, I agree with that lady from Sephora……here in Brazil there are so many poor people that don’t have access to health, food, a home and they are still going on, working, trying to make our country be stronger, to have opportunities for everyone. So I celebrate with almost anything! I celebrated when the government gave houses to people that did not have them, I celebrate when a new subway line is ready, I celebrate when anybody that I know gets a job or finishes high school. So let’s celebrate life! Enjoy your birthday, you are so beautiful and talented and you deserve the most happiest day today!

  40. Kerry says:

    Happy Birthday! I hope your day is full of fun and beauty goodies 🙂

  41. SDpfeiffy says:

    Happy Birthday, Karen! Thanks for sharing your wit and wisdom 🙂

  42. Emily says:

    Happy birthday! I hope the next year of your life continues to be filled with happiness, glamour, and general awesomeness!

  43. Varsha says:

    Happy birthday Karen! I hope it’s your happiest, best year yet!

  44. Mindy says:

    We have the same birthday! Happy birthday! I turn 22 and I’ve learned the hard way with life lessons 2 and 3 but I still refuse with lesson 1, cute shoes are just so darn cute!

  45. Radhika says:

    Happpy birthday pretty Gemini blogger 😀 Have a great day today and every day. My birthday was last week – June 1 – and the lesson I learned – hmmm…I quit my job and moved here about a month back, and I had a million worries if it’s the right thing to do – still have – but thinking about it now, it was the most sensible thing to do. Am loving being jobless and spending time with my husband 😀

  46. Jae says:

    Happy birthday, Karen!! I heart your blog and read it on the daily!! I hope you have a fantabulous birthday!! btw, u look radiant in that pic! go girl!! ;p

  47. ShannoninBC says:

    Great introspection! True words, great advise, and thank you for reminding us 😀 Hope you have a great birthday, enjoy Vancouver, it’s a beautiful city.

  48. Nina says:

    happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you!

    happy birthday, dear Karen …

    happy birthday to you!

    have an awesome birthday, an an awesome year! here’s to being fab!

  49. Tina says:

    Happy Birthday Karen!!! Hope you have a wonderful year ahead of you.

    I turned 28 at the end of May (May 30), so I’m a fellow Gemini! Guess that’s why I love your posts so much even though I rarely wear makeup 😀

    Have a good and bon voyage 🙂

  50. Cgich says:

    Hi Karen happy birthday! I’ve been reading your blog everyday since Last year. It’s Something to I look forward to after a busy day. Good luck and have a fantastic hatch-day!

  51. Leah says:

    Happy Birthday Karen! My birthday is next Monday the 13th but we are planning to keep things fairly casual this year. Vancouver is a blast by the way, if you can make it to Elizabeth Park I think it is, there is a fantastic restaurant that overlooks the city. I’m from Seattle so I’ve been there several times.

    Enjoy your trip!

  52. IKK says:

    happy happy birthday, karen!!

  53. Gina says:

    Happy birthday, Karen! You’re a beautiful woman, inside and out, and I hope you have a great day! You deserve it!

  54. Cindy says:

    Happy Birthday, Karen! :))

  55. Annie says:

    Happy Birthday Karen!

    Those are such wise words. It definitely has put a good spin on my day. Thank you!


  56. raquel says:

    Happy Birthday Karen!

  57. AngieK says:

    Happy Birthday Karen! Hope it’s a great one.

  58. Cassy says:

    Happy Birthday Babe! Those are all good lessons (as well as the one from the Sephora associate) For the last few years I have really been trying to keep everything in perspective (I think to my boyfriend’s dismay) For example when my (expensive!) camera recently broke, I freaked out for a few and then just let it go. If it’s fixable, so be it. It’s just a thing. Not a thing I can really afford to be breaking, but still just a thing.
    Cassy recently posted … Technical Difficulties

  59. miléna says:

    Happy Birthday!!! xxxx

  60. Rinnie says:

    Happy Birthday!!! I went into a fowl mood too right before I turned 30 just because I thought it meant I couldn’t be fun anymore; also I decided to go back to school to better my skills then try for vet school again, I felt so old among the young girls who’ve only been out of high school a few years. That’s good advice about the uncomfortable shoes but I don’t listen to often, partially because I’ve been a sucker for seeing cute shoes online and buying them before trying them on and not wanting to pay ridiculous shipping fees.

  61. Swathi says:

    Hey Karen !

    Happy Bday !!! I love me anything related to looking fashionable ! And you have helped me a great deal in the last year with fashion and attitude and of course make up !!!

    Owe you huge !

    And again , hope you keep smiling the rest of the awesome year Karen !

  62. Glosslizard says:

    Happy birthday!! Hope you and El Hub have a wonderful trip! 🙂

    I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned is that if I feel a huge reaction coming on (anything that might be typed with triple exclamation points 😉 ), I should back off and take a while (anything from a few deep breaths to a few days) before jumping in with a response I might regret!

  63. Katie says:

    Happy birthday, Karen! Here’s to hopes and dreams, here’s to you!

  64. Noga says:

    Happy bday Karen!

    And the things you wrote are so true.. #1 is easier for me in a way than most women, as I have really flat feet and have to wear heels all of the time, per the doc’s orders (the dude told my mom that when I was 10, and I haven’t looked back since).
    I’ve come to terms with #3 a few years back, but still struggling with #2… but i’ll get there 😉

  65. Carrie says:

    Happy Birthday Karen!
    Did you get any cool/cute presents?

  66. Victoria says:


  67. Emily says:

    Happy Birthday from Canada!
    Emily recently posted … Canucks Game 4 Makeup

  68. Nanette says:

    Happy birthday! Love your blog.

  69. Inday says:

    You are so beautiful Karen! Inside & out. A lovely birthday to you & blessings always!

  70. lexi says:

    happy birthday!

  71. Amista says:

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! This is some great advice. I hope you have a wonderful day!
    Amista recently posted … Dream Angels Forever Perfume

  72. Shrutilaya says:

    Happy Birthdaaayy 😀

  73. LC says:

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Karen! I hope you have a wonderful day. Thanks for all you do for the beauty blogging community!

  74. Sylvie says:

    Happy birthday!

  75. Carissa says:

    Have a wonderful birthday!! Thanks for all that you do for blogging!

  76. Happy Birthday Karen !!! Hope you and this blog grows more fun, more wise, and more makeup-ful in all the years to come !!!
    Peachesandblush.com recently posted … MAC Springsheen Blush -Swatches- Review- Photos

  77. vonnie says:

    happy happy birthday! mine’s was may 7th and very nice. i like the lessons that you learned, i need to listen to my gut instinct more like i used to, and get out there to make things happen.

    you look a decade younger, by the way!
    vonnie recently posted … Purple- Silver- and Black Smoky Eye Makeup

  78. Eileen says:

    I have just read through the comments and we’re such a philosophical bunch! It’s been a long while since I saw 36 or 46 or even 56. And now that 66 is just around a couple more corners, I can honestly say that I’ve learned that each and every year is a present to be fully experienced, enjoyed, treasured, and shared. As for the annus horribilis that sometimes threatens, as you have learned, we can control how we respond. So, Karen, here’s wishing you an annus mirabilis! Happy Birthday!

  79. voodoogirl says:

    happy birthday, karen! have a good one 🙂

  80. Vonvon says:

    Happy Birthday, Karen! 🙂
    Vonvon recently posted … A Bit Busy New Wedges From New Look

  81. Jane says:

    This is exactly why I love your blog and <3 you so much! (Apart from the fact that you sent me that Ballenciaga perfume from your giveway :D) I hope you have a great day and a great year. I wish ,you keep writing more coz I love your wit and humor 🙂

  82. Angela says:

    Wish u a very Happy Birthday. Enjoy MBB a lot & it’s the ‘tude u bring that makes it even better. We ladies don’t seem to enjoy our 30’s – had similar feelings myself. If it’s any consolation the 40’s were my fav decade – so u see, it only gets better. As long as I’ve got that make-up stash calling my name each day I’m golden. BTW, I’ll be 66 in Sept. Karen, isn’t nice to know women of all ages love u?

  83. Nikki B. says:

    Happy Birthday Karen!! Thanks for being such a truly awesome and dedicated beauty blogger! Your writing is exceptional – informative and witty – and I truly love checking in to see what you and Tabs are up to on a daily basis. I hope you have a wonderful day and that you continue to have such a rewarding year! Enjoy your vacay to Canada – it’s beautiful this time of year 🙂

  84. Caitlin says:

    Happy birthday Karen!! You are a truly inspiring woman, and I know seeing what you do everyday makes me realize it’s possible for me to follow my dreams as well. I hope you have an amazing day!!!

  85. Gummy says:

    Happy Birthday Karen!!! ^_^ Heck, you look better and better – if that’s the case, I don’t mind when my turn comes to be 36! ^_~ Hope you have a beautiful, wonderful, most fantastic day with Tabs, El Hub, and anyone else you may come in contact with today (maybe Grace Coddington might just be in the same area as you! ^_^)
    Gummy recently posted … Life

  86. Stef Smith says:

    Happy Birthday Karen! I turn 36 on Saturday. The lesson I learned this last year was that a family is what makes the home, not the other way around. And also to not be afraid to express your passion about something, if you think it’s important, then it’s important! Have a good day!!! Oh, and 36 is the year that my Mom and MIL stopped aging, so I may do that too, why stop tradition? 🙂

  87. Iram says:

    happy birthday 🙂
    Iram recently posted … MUA &amp NYC Review

  88. Yasmin says:

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Thanks for sharing your lessons learning, really enjoyed them. My birthday was yesterday & I was a little down about getting older. I did get over it, but that quote really puts things in perspective…going to keep that in mind always 🙂

    Have a wonderful day!!!

  89. Stella says:

    Happy birthday to a truly wonderful lady 🙂

  90. ValbonaPro says:

    Karen–my gut instinct tells me that you are a beautiful person on the inside, and it’s evident you are beautiful on the outside as well. Happy Birthday and I hope you cherish each day as it was your last because millions of people in this world do NOT live that long.

    PS: You look way younger than 36! You take care of yourself well, I see!


  91. Jula says:

    Happy birthday Karen! Have an excellent day! and thank you for the words of wisdom 🙂

  92. TrishaL says:

    Happy Birthday Karen! Wishing you a happy and healthy year and many many more to come 🙂

    Thanks for sharing that with us… all very true.

  93. Tessa says:

    Gefeliciteerd, fijne verjaardag! (=Congratulations, Happy birthday in Dutch :))
    Those lessons are very useful, especially the one about the shoes.

  94. Chynna says:

    This is a fantastic post! Many happy returns of the day.

  95. Kiran says:

    Happy Birthday Karen. I turn 36 tomorrow and am grateful for everything I have. Moreso greateful for good health for everybody in my family. And thanks to your MAC Unsung Heroes I upped my minimal MAC collection and am feeling beautiful too !! Have a wonderful day and a great year ahead.

  96. Lorraine says:

    Happy birthday, Karen!

  97. Holly says:

    Happy Birthday, Karen! You have a genuinely lovely outlook on life and are kind enough to share it with the world. 🙂 Have a fantastic trip!

  98. Gala says:

    Happy Birthday!
    wish you lots of happiness and make awesome memories this upcoming year.
    I wonder what Tabs is planning for you, being the innovative and visionary persona that he is


  99. Jessica says:

    Happy Birthday Karen! I hope you have a wonderful day!

  100. Danielle F. says:

    Happiest birthday Karen! I love your lessons and insights. Here’s to an even better year than the last one, cheers!

  101. Alexandria says:

    Happy birthday, Karen!

  102. Jessica says:

    Happy Birthday, Karen! I hope you have a wonderful day!

  103. Heidi says:

    Have the best birthday and vacation ever, Karen! You deserve it!

    It is always great to reflect on lessons learned so far in your life by the time your birthday comes around. Sounds like you’re figuring things out that I’m still working on. I guess we all get there when we get there, you know?

  104. Denise says:

    Happy Birthday!!! Geminis rock 😉 My birthday is next wednesday and I sure do hope I learned my lessons – the one with the shoes I learned a couple of years ago ;-), but I really need to work on my responses and for that matter I need to be careful what I say since my first job starts in less than two months…then real life begins (university was sooo easy in comparison to that!)

    Hope you have a wonderful birthday!!!

  105. Cass says:

    Happy Birthday!

    I turn 35 next year and am not looking forward to it. Want to know what cheers me up? My husband and my best friend will always be older than I am! Haha! My best friend is only a month older than I am, but its still older!

  106. Christina says:

    I hope you have a super wonderful birthday, Karen!! 😀 Today’s my best friend’s birthday, too! But she had to start her day off with a final XP

  107. Angelica says:

    Have a wonderful birthday Karen you deserve it!! Happy Birthday!!

  108. laura says:

    happy birthday! i truly enjoy everything you post on your blog–it’s informational, inspiring, and humorous.

  109. victoria r. says:

    as per usual… so much more than makeup reviews from my favorite blogger. happy birthday karen! june birthdays rock! 🙂

  110. Joanna says:

    Happy Birthday love, stay beautiful!

  111. the 30s is like the new 20s…except you have better sense.

  112. shannon says:

    Happy Birthday Karen!! You’re amazing:) I love your tips on makeup and on life, thank you!

  113. Tina H says:

    Happy Birthday Karen!!!

  114. Jessi says:

    Happy birthday beautiful lady! I hope you have a great time on your trip!
    Jessi recently posted … Urban Decays Rollergirl Palette Swatches and Review

  115. Gigi says:

    Happy Birthday Karen!

    You look amazing, not a day over 30.

  116. Tuhina says:

    Happy Birthday!

  117. Karen says:

    Thank you for the birthday wishes! I’m at the airport waiting for my flight. See you in a few! 🙂

  118. Trisha says:

    Happy birthday, Karen! I tell you, you don’t look 36 at all. You’ve got a young face. And I bet all the awesome beauty products haven’t hurt as well. 😉
    Trisha recently posted … Love to the Fullest by Reese Witherspoon is Spicy and Long-Lasting

  119. Jennifer says:

    Happy birthday! Thank you for sharing with us all of your insight, inspiration and insider tips….and making me laugh on a daily basis. 🙂

  120. Emily says:

    Have an amazing birthday, Karen!!

  121. maxi says:

    HAppy birthday to you
    HAppy Birthday to youuuuu
    HAppy Birthday Dear karennnn
    happy birthday to youuuuuuu

    may you have many moreeee may you have many moreeeeeee
    may you have many moreee
    happy birthday to youuuuuuuuuu ( clap clap clap )

    😀 smileeeeeee today and all your life 🙂

  122. Instant Karma says:

    Happy birthday, Karen! Tigger and Gizmo made you a cake. Okay, it’s a can of Fancy Feast with a candle sticking out of it, but it’s the thought that counts. Baking is hard when you lack opposable thumbs. 🙂

    • Instant Karma says:

      P.S. Have fun in Vancouver! It’s one of my favorite cities. Get out to the area around the university — it’s absolutely stunning — and the mountainous areas up by North Vancouver are beautiful as well. You may even spot a few wolves! Also, the shopping is great 😀

  123. Tina says:

    Happy birthday Karen! Hope year 36 is fabulous!

  124. Tammy says:

    Happy Birthday!

  125. Emma says:

    Karen, Happy Birthday! I haven’t commented on your site before but I figure since I’ve been reading your blog for about a year, now is as good a time as any. I’m 20 and I consider you a wonderful role model. I hope I am as positive, creative and self-assured as you when I graduate from college. I love your writing style, your fashion sense, your photography… basically this is one of my three favorite beauty blogs. Congratulations and I hope you have a wonderful birthday!

  126. nidhi says:

    Happy b’day Karen..Hope you have a great year ahead and you always inspire others to do what they like to. I am going to celebrate my son’s secon b’day next week and lesseon i learn from him and past one..never takes things to your heart..
    nidhi recently posted … LOTD-Aqua eye look

  127. Yogirl says:

    Happy Birthday! Hope you have a great day with lots of cake and family and friends around 🙂

  128. alyssa says:

    that is the cutest picture of the kitten with the cupcake!!! 🙂 i love it!!

  129. Cherie says:

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!! 🙂

  130. Lauren says:

    Happy Birthday Karen! I hope today is fabulous for you. Sounds like you’ve definitely learned a lot in the last year, and what that Sephora sales associate said really does put it into perspective. I’m still learning about the shoe thing (why do the gorgeous shoes hurt so bad? ._.’), but I feel like I’m learning from past mistakes: don’t sweat the small stuff and be more patient.

  131. Franny says:

    Happy Birthday!
    I hope you have a fabulous day!! I look forward to reading your blog everyday and it always puts a smile on my face. Thank you for sharing your talents with us. I am also a Crazy Cat Lady and I hope that Tabs gives you lots of birthday kitty love 🙂

  132. gio says:

    Happy birthday! I hope you have a wonderful day!
    gio recently posted … Third Blog Anniversary Giveaway!

  133. Tina says:

    Happy Birthday Karen!!!

    I hope you have a wonderful day! I love reading your blog every day…it always makes my day.


  134. Happy Birthday, dear Karen!
    So true about your last point x

  135. Emma says:

    I just ran across your blog recently and I’m glad I subscribed because I’ve enjoyed all your posts. Happy birthday!

  136. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! I hope that all your birthday wishes come true. Also, I want to let you know that you success with your blog both inspires and motivates me.

    All the best of your day 🙂

  137. Elena says:

    Happy Birthday! Best wishes…

    Biggest lesson learned was last year for me.. I let a really great guy walk away but then again.. things happen for a reason.. that’s life.. can’t dwell on it but just learn from it and hope for the best 🙂

    Life is too short!

  138. Anka says:

    Happy birthday! You are so beautiful and so are your words of wisdom 🙂

  139. Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday to you!! Cheers to another great year Karen!
    Kajal Couture recently posted … MAC Dupes for the Urban Decay Naked Palette

  140. Audrey says:

    Happy birthday, Karen!
    I rarely comment, but I’d like to say that I luuuuuuv your blog! Funny and helpful!
    P.S. Seeing Grace Coddington? Lucky! I like to think that I would have introduced myself, but I probably would have had the same reaction you did. Oh well…
    Best bday wishes!

  141. peach_ says:

    Happy birthday, Karen! I hope you have a wonderful day! I loved your post (and always do) and girl, you are looking smokin’ hot.

  142. Girl says:

    good life lessons! Thanks for sharing and happy b-day! June babies rock!

  143. aundrea says:

    Happy birthday! I hope you have a wonderful day!

  144. Kaelin Chan says:


    another year older only signifies one more year of being FABULOUS.
    Kaelin Chan recently posted … Opinions

  145. kali says:

    Happy Birthday!! You are such a great writer and I absolutely love your blog -it’s one of my favorites.

    I agree with everything you’ve said in this post.

    You wouldn’t believe how many times I’m gotten answers wrong (on tests) because I didn’t go with my gut and second guessed myself. =\

    Never again!! ..I hope.

  146. Jaya says:

    Happy Birthday Karen ! That was a great write-up. You have an awesome day girl…

  147. amy says:

    Your first picture of your cat and the mini cupcake is adorable. Well done. the fonts are beautiful too.. are you a desktop publisher by any chance?

  148. Savannah says:

    Happy Birthday Karen! I love your blog! I hope you have a fabulous day!


  149. Appu says:

    Happy Birthday my favourite blogger 🙂 Have a fabulous year ahead!!!
    Appu recently posted … Benefit Creaseless Cream Shadow in Busy Signal – Review- Swatch &amp EOTD

  150. megan says:

    Happy Birthday!

  151. Basak says:

    Happy Birthday Karen!

  152. Beena says:

    Happy birthday! You have such an awesome blog.

    I totally agree about the shoes. Comfortable & cute shoes are soo hard to find!

  153. Jo says:

    Happy Birthday, Karen! Best wishes for this b-day and also for many, many more!

  154. Lily says:

    Happy birthday!!!

  155. Linda Halpern says:

    Happy Birthday Karen! You look like a girl who really enjoys life and I really applaud you for that. I’ve been reading your blog for almost a year now and really enjoy it – especially the “real you” comments. Hope you have a wonderful day.

  156. Martha says:

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! Thanks for your words of wisdom. I just turned 25 and I feel pretty lost.

  157. Linda Halpern says:

    I really love the mascara by Mally. Have you ever tried?

  158. Alisha says:

    Happy Birthday hun! Hope you had a fabulicious day 🙂

  159. Tiffany says:

    Happy Birthday, Karen!! Have a great one!

  160. Whitney says:

    Happy Birthday!!! Thank you Karen for making my days bright and giving these little lessons. Today I really needed to be reminded (of all 3) Have a GREAT BIRTHDAY 🙂 <3

  161. Liza says:

    Happy Birthday Karen, have a great one! 🙂 I really love your blog. I’m also a huge admirer of Grace’s work but I can understand how scary it would be to go up to a celebrity (I once saw Selena Gomez in BCBG when I was celebrating my 13th birthday but was way too afraid to say hi). Thanks for all of the great advice:)
    Liza recently posted … A Few of my Favorite Fragrances

  162. Bernice says:

    Happy Birthday !

  163. Blue says:

    Happy birthday, Karen! 😀

  164. Bisbee says:

    Happy Birthday Karen! Enjoy your vacation!

    I turned (gasp) 60 last month! The lessons you learned hold true no matter WHAT your age!

  165. Joyce B says:

    Happy birthday Karen! I hope your next 35 years are even better than your first 35 years!

  166. Gisselle says:

    Happy birthday Karen wishing you many more!! I dont post often but please know that I truly enjoy your blog and look forward to reading it each day :-). I turned 40 in February and I’m STILL trying to get adjusted! Lmao. You really start to contemplate “what really is my purpose”? Anyhoo please enjoy your day and keep up the good work. You are funny as he’ll and talented 🙂

  167. nia says:

    happy birthday~

    the sephora associate is a really wise person. i like the comment and i hope to remember that as i age; and about those shoes, yes, i so do agree with you. XD

  168. jen. says:

    Happy birthday! I hope you have a fantastic day (and nice shoes, whoa)!

  169. Naj says:

    Aww, happy birthday Karen! You still look young and gorgeous. Have a great year ahead. And thanks for the tips!

  170. Paris B says:

    Happy birthday Karen! Hope you’re enjoying a fabulous time in Vancouver (and that you get to Italy soon! 😉 )
    Paris B recently posted … My First Bronzer – Guerlain Terra Inca Sublime Radiant Powder

  171. Keyonna says:

    Best wishes on your special day Karen! 🙂

  172. Sabrina says:

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY KAREN! Your blog is always a joy to read. I know I can always come here and leave with a huge smile. You have an awesome sense of humor and I love your take on all things beauty – especially with the fact that you have an amazingly positive attitude that spreads to others (like myself) and lifts me just by reading your blog.

  173. Dao says:

    Happy Birthday, Karen! May you have another awesome 35 years ahead with more awesome makeup 🙂
    Dao recently posted … Rhoto- Rhoto- Rhoto! Heres Why I Love Rhoto

  174. Lana says:

    Happy birthday Karen! You are a great person, and I hope your special day is as beautiful as you are! 🙂

  175. Stephanie says:

    Happy birthday! I turn 30 later this year (which the hubby keeps teasing me about), but in the last year I’ve learned that I’m much stronger than I thought after hemorrhaging after labor, getting six blood transfusions as a result, and ultimately losing our baby six weeks after she was born due to something my family never knew we had. But we’ve survived.

  176. Amy says:

    Happy birthday! You look absolutely lovely!

  177. Erica says:

    Happy birthday Karen! You share the same birthday with one of my friends as well as my brother. The lesson I learned last year was to say yes to every opportunity. Well, maybe not EVERY one, but you get what I mean. I think it’s important to allow yourself to take a risk and make a change once in a while!

  178. Neetha says:

    Happy Birthday Karen!!!

  179. Millie says:

    Happy birthday, Karen! Wish you beauty and laughter today and always! Thank you for all your hard work and creativity in making your blog a fave of mine, so fun to read, informative, and you know how to feed our passion for beauty.

  180. Amanda says:

    Happy birthday, girl! Enjoy your day–you deserve it! 😀

  181. Yulia says:

    Happy Birthday, Karen!!! Wish you only the best , you are amazing.. Thanks for everything =)

  182. KSlone says:

    Happy Birthday!
    What if the shoes hurt walking, but are fine sitting in the limo with a cocktail? Are they okay then? 😀

  183. Winny says:

    Happy Birthday, Karen!!! Hope you had an awesome day… 🙂
    Still couldn’t believe you’re a gemini! Mine would be next week…

  184. Rita says:

    Happy Birthday!

  185. Chelsey says:

    I love this post Karen… It really makes you think. Thank you <3

  186. Jan says:

    Happy Birthday Karen!!

    I love your words of wisdom. The “Trust your Instincts” rings so true. Even for something as big as (almost) meeting Grace Coddington to what I did. My instinct told me to get off at my usual stop when I change buses. My instinct told me to get off so I might make it, but I saw a construction truck and told myself not to get off. Turns out, I missed my second bus; I watched it go by on the other side of the street. My instinct was right all along. Lucky, I wasn’t late to class (Final Review day), but I really learned my lesson from that. If I’m lucky enough to encounter a famous person I like, I hope I muster up the courage to say hello.

  187. Marieke says:

    Wooh! I thought you were much younger 🙂
    Happy B-day!

  188. AtelierGal says:

    Happy Belated Birthday, Karen! 😀
    AtelierGal recently posted … Look- crazy little woman in a one man show

  189. Erin says:

    I just turned 22 on the 5th. I am extremely dramatic about getting “old” so of course, I was whining and complaining that I was out of good birthdays. Then I remembered my 19th and 20th birthdays. On my 19th, I was freaking out about being such a crap age…where no one really takes you seriously but you don’t have the thrill of “new” adulthood. In my 19th year, I got my first apartment & met my now husband. On my 20th, I was whining about not being a teenager anymore, getting close to 30….blah, blah, blah. In my 20th year, I got married and started my first internship (I’m currently working my third internship). Those were incredible years. So I’ve decided that 22 is going to be even better….after all, I graduate college this year. Seems pointless to complain about getting “old” when you aren’t old at all.

    Happy birthday, Karen! I know you’ll have a great year…because why wouldn’t you? 🙂

  190. Shailly says:

    Have a BEAUTIFUL BIRTHDAY Karen! Xoxoxoxox

  191. Ariel says:

    I love this kind of post, you always have some smart & wise thoughts to share with us 🙂
    Ariel recently posted … VioletMoss Eco Awards

  192. meibaola says:

    My birthday was on the 9th too and I was not very enthusiastic about completing my 38th year of life, feeling a bit like “where is my life going this fast and what am I doing with it”. So I decided to make a quick list of all the things I did for the very first time during last year. This is what I jotted down: holistic holidays, Taijichuan, Pilates, yoga, 5rythms dance, a style and image course, consecutive interpreting, simultaneous interpretating in a booth, visited Greece, studied French, had my hair bleached, completed 2 and 1/2 Project10Pan, joined a local trekking association, tried Kopi Luwak coffee and become an auntie. Uplifting! 😀

  193. Maya Pause says:

    HAPPY (late I know I’m sorry!) BIRTHDAY!!!
    My family as this thing about getting older. Technically, you never really turn your supposed age. So, for you, since you’ve turned 36, we always say that you’re 3+6=9. So really you’re 9 today!!!
    I’ll be turning 3 in September (2+1=3 lol)!

  194. Kim says:

    Awesome life lessons, Birthday Girl! 🙂 Your last one is my favorite. Everyone could use some more emphasis on personal responsibility! And, luckily, I think the things we tend to complain about are really minor when you look at some of the real hardships people face. Anyway, here’s hoping you had a hardship-free b’day and vaycay!

  195. Elle says:

    I love your posts like this (or, well ALL your posts, really!). You are a terrific writer. Hope you had a wonderful birthday!

  196. Kayla says:

    I really need to listen to these tips… haha!
    Kayla recently posted … Photo

  197. Soo says:

    happy birthday, Karen! I hadn’t wished you one yet and still wanted to be a little blip amongst all your other readers.

    lessons two and three really hit home for me. I always self-doubt myself far too much that it will get the best of me. also, I fought with my last closest girlfriend late last night and I don’t know where we stand anymore. I need to learn to keep moving forward, I’ve been feeling so static for too long now.
    Soo recently posted … Stila Backstage Palette Giveaway!

  198. Trude says:

    Wow that is a GREAT way to look at age! I think maybe I’ll put that up on my wall somehow. 🙂 Such good lessons, I’m trying to take them more to heart each year!

  199. Anne says:

    Happy birthday Karen!!! Hope you had a wonderful one! 🙂

  200. Juveda says:

    Well another fellow Gemini… My birthday is June 9th as well but 1965… u go …love the site!!!!!

  201. Alicia says:

    Happy belated birthday, Karen! Love this post! My birthday is also round the corner (turning 30 soon), and I am still learning the third lesson you wrote. It is a beautiful post 🙂

  202. Claudia says:

    Happy Birthday, Karen! I hope it was the best one yet. 🙂

  203. Hey Karen, we share the same birthday 🙂 I hope yours was WONDERFUL!!! I enjoy your insight… #3 is a good one but not easy to master. You look great (as always)!
    Gotham Polish recently posted … Back from Aruba!

  204. MicheleR says:

    Fantastic post – Happy Birthday dear!

  205. Ana says:

    happy birthday!!! i love your blog 🙂
    and i have to say, como los buenos vinos, mejoras con el tiempo!!

  206. Ashley says:


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