7 things I learned the hard way

 Hi friends! How are you? I hope you had a wonderful weekend! We met up with the family for Pizza Saturday, did a donut run, I took another hot yoga class and got in a strength workout, and we went to the pool not once but twice on Friday with friends. 

I’m catching an early Peloton class – Alex’s classes are my faves right now – and then we’re spending the rest of the day enjoying some summer adventures. School is starting next week (what?!), so I feel like it’s the last hurrah. About a month ago, I felt like summer was dragging on forever, and here I am wishing it would last just a little longer. I’m absolutely craving a little bit of routine again (and solid blocks of time during the day to work), but at the same time, I’m going to miss these lazy mornings and days at the pool. 

Hands in the air if you’re watching The Bachelorette tonight. I’m feeling ALL the emotions: excited, scared, nervous, devastated. I’ve read all the spoilers so I’m 99.9% sure it doesn’t go the way I’d like it to go, man, all the drama has made for some fabulous TV entertainment.  

Today’s post is a little bit random, but aren’t those ones the most fun? I thought I’d share 7 life lessons that I’ve had to learn the hard way. You know what I’m talking about: the things you think are going to work out splendidly but end up being a major fail. 

Things I learned the hard way: 

Always put an extra pair of underwear (bonus for an extra outfit), contacts, and a toothbrush with toothpaste in your carry-on backpack for all humans in your travel party. Our checked baggage has been lost too many times. When I was stuck in Phoenix with the girls and zero necessities, I told myself that I will never, ever make this mistake again. (Thankfully our cousins swooped us up for a Target run so I could get some essentials!)

On the same note: never leave the house without snacks and water bottles for all. Something about driving makes the everyone equally parched and starving. 

Nail salons are for nails and waxing/threading salons are for eyebrows. Many years ago, I let a nail technician sweetly convince me that I should get my eyebrows waxed. As I felt her spread the wax from my eyebrows all the way down to cover my entire eyelid (!) I prayed I wouldn’t end up like Christina from Grey’s Anatomy. 

“Mama took my eyebrows.”



Don’t cook the Trader Joe’s cauliflower gnocchi according to package directions. You’ll have a goopy, soggy mess. Pan saute in a little avocado oil for about 10 minutes and they’re crispy perfection.

Cutting your own bangs is always a bad idea. 

If you hate a book, quit reading it. Reading time is too precious to waste on novels that don’t suck you in with their story or provide relevant information.

Never put steak in the Instant Pot. This is something I’ll never forget. While the Pilot was deployed, I bought a nice grassfed steak from Whole Foods that the girls and I could share. I have no clue how to grill – my mom is now determined to teach me – and pan-searing never quite works for me, so I figured I’d put it in the Instant Pot. I retrieved a chewy, round, leather shoe. As Liv was chewing it (and each bite took maybe 30 chews for it to be possible to swallow), she sadly said, “I hate steak.” I had to remind her that she actually loves steak when it’s cooked properly. 😉 (Thankfully the Pilot and Kyle have cooked steak many times since this sad occasion.) 

I’d love to hear any of the random things you’ve learned lately; drop your life tips in the comments sections. Can’t wait to read these.



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  1. Kristen on July 29, 2019 at 10:28 am

    Never point something out to your toddler while driving (i.e. “Look, a deer!”) because 9/10 they will not see it, and there will be hell to pay.

    • Shannon on July 30, 2019 at 6:22 am

      After having a baby, don’t assume you can hold your pee for as long as you used to ‍♀️

    • Brittany on August 1, 2019 at 2:30 pm

      LOLOL!!! Soooo True.

    • Kat on August 8, 2019 at 8:57 pm

      Omg this happens ALL the time! Sweetie look there’s a rainbow!. Where? Where? WHERE IS MY RAINBOW?!!

  2. Amy Austin on July 29, 2019 at 11:38 am

    Take the time to watch where you’re walking…..I am klutzy to begin with and when I think I can walk without actually paying attention…….I always regret it!
    Great list Gina!!!

  3. Kirsten on July 29, 2019 at 12:44 pm

    OMG! Thank you for posting these little gems on a Monday morning – you made me laugh!

    When we are in Tampa I go to a nail salon there and I remember once the lady said to me when I asked for a pedi/mani “how about a lip wax?” Whaaaat?!!!! Another girl doing my nails asked me if I had kids? I said no, we just have dogs. Then she proceeded to tell me “my brother marry girl like you, she broken (I guess she couldn’t have kids???), he leave her, marry another girl, they have kids like rabbits now”. Now when I go to that nail salon I just read my Kindle!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I once had my eyebrows tinted at a nail salon – when I looked into the mirror I thought she drew my eyebrows on with a black Sharpie marker!!!!

  4. Stephanie on July 29, 2019 at 1:00 pm

    I just recently gave into the book reading one. I held this fear that I was missing out on something if I didn’t finish each book. Even if I fell asleep each time trying to read bc it was so boring.

    Mine: do not assume that a toddler girl can always pee into the potty. Girls pee outside the potty too! I was so surprised when I just sat my girl on the potty and she started to pee and it came out either over the seat or in between the seat and toilet! Sit that girl waaaay back and have them lean forward so the pee (hopefully) doesn’t get everywhere!

  5. Grace on July 29, 2019 at 5:08 pm

    Let your dog sleep with you in bed just once and they will then believe it’s their bed and refuse to leave. Not that I hate it. My pup is such a sweet snuggle bear. The solution was getting a king bed.

    Tequila shots + 4” stilettos = face plant

    Baby wipes and neutrogena make up removal wipes can be used to clean up pretty much anything.

    Spend one on one time with your parents and grandparents whenever you have the chance.

  6. Katie on July 29, 2019 at 7:13 pm

    I love these, especially the reading one! I’m a librarian, so that hits right in the feels. Life is too short, there are too many great books to read, and not every book is right for every reader, or at every moment in that reader’s life. One of the most important reading skills is knowing how to identify what you enjoy so you can seek out more of it, and maybe branch out your interests from there. Equally true for kids and adults 🙂

    That being said, I’m still kinda embarrassed I never finished The Scarlet Letter in high school, but that mess was a real downer and SparkNotes were a thing, so…

  7. Liz on July 30, 2019 at 9:40 am

    The cauliflower thing is real. I bought a package once, cooked it and was disgusted, and have yet to give it another try, but my coworker gave me new instructions to help. So we will see…

  8. Crystal on July 30, 2019 at 12:30 pm

    I laughed out loud at some of these, especially the nail salon waxing one. I had a friend who once got a bikini wax at a nail salon and she later told me she’d be traumatized forever. Hard lesson to learn lol.

  9. Juliana on July 30, 2019 at 12:33 pm

    Just because the stylist is French, does mean they will be good at cutting your hair!!! (Unless you want a mullet.) This actually happened to me twice – two different stylists- before I learned my lesson.

  10. Jill on July 30, 2019 at 1:23 pm

    Oooh, these are good! Jumping on the eyebrow one: DON’T overpluck. They will eventually stop growing back. I was in high school in the late 90s and thin, over-plucked eyebrows were the thing. My mom warned me not to overpluck, but like any good teenager, I ignored her. Luckily I still have eyebrows, but I long for them to be thicker & fuller.

    • Grace on July 31, 2019 at 2:18 pm

      Ugh I’m so glad that awful 90s trend died. No one looks good with eyebrows that thin. Glad you still have yours!

  11. Amanda on July 30, 2019 at 1:34 pm

    Never, I mean Never get your upper lip waxed at a nail salon when they say “Oh, one side of your mustache hair is longer than the other side!” First, this was a long time ago so I didn’t realize I had mustache hair and second One Side Was Longer Than the Other!?! They waxed it…..my upper lip was red, swollen and covered with little bumps for 3 weeks and I had a funeral to go to where there was ton of family I hadn’t seen in years. Lesson learned.

  12. Liz on July 30, 2019 at 1:56 pm

    Mine is opposite to yours, but I learned NOT to do the snack thing with my kid. It’s so ingrained in our culture that kids get snacks all the time, but she eats 1000x better at meals when we don’t do snacks. She’s more interested, adventurous and open to trying new things when we skip the snacks. I’m kind of anti-snack now!

  13. adrianna on July 30, 2019 at 10:17 pm

    a few i learned in college but will never forget…
    -dont warm your leftovers in the oven while still in the paper bag
    -dont flush tampons
    -dont trust that coffee lids are secure. so many shirts with stains, so now i lean over so if drips, its on the floor in front of me
    agree on the travel essentials in a carry on! i’d add tide pen and floss

  14. Jennifer on August 3, 2019 at 2:49 pm

    “Cutting your own bangs is always a bad idea. ”
    Yup, and that is why I stopped getting bangs lol. I always ended up with Bettie Page bangs by the end of my self haircuts.

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