Brown paper packages tied up with string...

Looking at the world through a clear lens...

a clear, nude stiletto heeled lens.

I posted this list to my social media sites for my 40th birthday.

I received such positive feedback, and buckets of support (this is the tribe, y'all),

that I felt this to be a great platform to share!

Send me a few of your favorite things and they could be featured on The Popped Collar blog every Friday...because Fridays are meant to feel good...


focusing on favorites.

Entering my 40s, “the next chapter“, I am laser focused on things that truly make me happy.

I was encouraged to make a list, my list...everyone should do this!

My list of “40 faves!” In no particular order:

1. Being a Mama. Being a Wife. Oh my God, this defines me. My fabric.
2. ANYTHING with Sophia and Roman. Anything.
3. COFFEE HOUSES!! Especially those bougie $8 lattes with fancy designs. Take all my money!! ☕️ 💰
4. Music. Music. Music. All of it. From Stone Temple Pilots to Dean Martin; Khalid to Kidz Bop; Shania to Gaga; Post to Def. It’s an art, a feeling, pieces of the makes my spirit tap it’s little toes. I mean, y’all can’t tell me when you hear Boyz II Men sing “Although we've come to the end of the road...Still I can't let you go” that doesn’t take you back to our middle school dance????? I can still smell that f🤬ing MVMS gym.
5. Toes in the creek, the sand, the lake, the puddle....
7. Tradition. Recipes, gathering donations, crafts, annual vacations. Things we can say we’ve been doing/making every year since we were young.
8. Being rough ‘round the edges, getting dirty, kicking up the dust in my waders and boots.
9. Being a WOMAN!!! Makeup, glitter, heels, dresses, LASHES...I love it all. Swimming in a pool of glitter, but happy to pop out once in a while to catch a fish.
10. Oh the horror!!!! Anything scary.
11. Cuddle sessions with snacks and any of the following flix: Road House, Twister, Dirty Dancing, Amadeus, ANY 80s teen-bop movie #sixteencandles #jake
12. Nom nom!!! Anything Roman makes, really.
13. Belly laughs. Like, I. Can’t. Breathe. kind of laughs.
14. Anything new, I gotta try!!! Swinging from trees, yoga with a goat...bring it on.
15. Trash TV! RHOC, RHONYC...all of it! Train wrecks are better watched from afar...with popcorn...and champagne.
16. Learning and discovering, always, together with my family and friends. Growing with each other through different phases and ages. It’s breathtaking to see where we all started and where we are all going. *sigh*
17. Antique houses, exposed brick, old trinkets, ornate corbels...anything old is my new.
18. Cooking/baking nights! Oh the things we have created...
19. Private “fort” chats with Sophia. Cut-and-paste this one to a top spot! She’s my everything. *pause for tissue break*
20. Windows open on a Spring or Fall day. Crisp, clean, renewing. The wind longs to play with my hair (Gibran).
21. Sweets! I mean, literally, sprinkle it with sugar and I’ll eat it.
22. PITTSBURGH SPORTS. Shocker. Stop rolling your eyes so you can see the beautiful colors of these heart emojis: 💛🖤💛🖤💛🖤
23. Forever 21. The feeling and the clothes.
24. Washed face, PJs, ponytail, fluffy bedding. That end-of-the-day-kick-off-your-shoes kind of feeling.
25. Determination. I thank God everyday for giving me strength. To want things. To want to make things happen. To have a drive to make it through all the goodies, and the (ugh) baddies.
26. WINNING!! Whether it’s a dollar on a scratch-off ticket, a free cookie, finishing first in a board game, a job well done… It don’t MATTA, the feeling of winning is definitely one of my favorite things!

27. Grocery shopping. I know, lame. Like, in your 40 years of life, grocery shopping makes your list? Well, hell yeah! It’s my safe house, my fun zone, the place where I sip my bougie latte and try samples, buy new fruits and vegetables, make up new dinner and breakfast ideas...I’m in a food Zen as I stroll through the aisles with my shiny cart. (tied for first, Home Goods. No big deal. Just a little slice of Heaven attached to Heaven’s waiting room, TJ Maxx). So basically, a poppin day for your girl is picking up a quick hazelnut latte, a stop for milk/bread/a $10 dragonfruit that I-hope-doesn’t-taste-like-shit-but-it’s-pink-so-take-my-money, a lantern, an off-the-shoulder sweater and a giant cheese board. The cheese board has iron handles, sooooo, no brainer. But, I forget to buy actual food for dinner, so we go out! Cheese board AND no dishes tonight. That is, what my friends?? See #26
28. My body. All the stages. The big, the little. I embrace this temple, honey!! I extra embrace it when it’s tan, but embrace nonetheless, Mama!! Blessed to be able to run, play, jump, skip steps.
29. Things that remind me of home. The rumble and whistle of the train outside, meatloaf and mashed taters, a particular smell. Home is where my heart is.
30. Planning surprises. I LOVE watching Sophia’s face light up. THE BEST.
31. Dates. DATES, HONEY. Dates. ❤️🔥❤️🔥#istillgetbutterflies
32. Roman’s smell. Roman’s hugs. Add that to #29, but certainly deserves it’s own spot.
33. CALI!! I have been to Belize (we were going to start a coffee house in Placencia 😆), Jamaica, Puerto Rico (🇵🇷 ❤️), a handful of States, but my heart belongs to CALIFORNIA!! I’m a proud Marylander, but I believe I was destined for California. The vibe, the culture, the people, I’m all about it! ☀️
34. Love notes from Sophia. I have a box full! Her personality shines in every note. My little treasures. She really does just love me, and that is my favorite thing. (*2nd tissue break...we are almost there!!*)
35. Making people laugh. I have my moments. Comedic genius moments. Feels sooo good to see you smile.
36. Farmers markets, milking cows, fresh chicken eggs, creek drive-thru, sunflower fields...anything COUNTRY.
37. Relaxation. A good spa, a nap in a hammock, a sandy siesta, pedicures, meditation. Just breathing it all in, and then allllllllllllllll out. Rejuvenation is my happy place.
38. Comfort. Being goofy, natural, stupid (“did you know Equador is near the E-QUA-TOR 🤯”), just letting these bleached locks down with the people that know me oh so well, feeling comfort in being ME.
39. Storms. Lighting, thunder, rumbles, flashes. Yassss!!!
40. My first 40 years. The moments, discoveries, growth, learning what I never knew I was capable of doing! Holy shit, we are all POWER HOUSES!!!

Reflect on your favorite things, it will bring so much joy, reflection, focus.

NOW TAKE A SHOT WITH ME AND MY FIRST 40 YEARS, MFs!(oooo, #41: shots).
Love to all my 40, 40+, and everyone who is and will always be Forever 21. ✌️ ❤️


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