Things I Would Tell My 20-year Old Self #7 – Abby

One of my favorite things about doing these “Things I Would Tell my 20-year old Self” guest posts is that I get to introduce some of my favorite bloggers to you guys!

Have you ever dreamed of leaving the rat race behind and moving to a small beach town in Costa Rica? My friend Abby did exactly that. In her blog the Jungle Princess she writes about her experiences living in small town Costa Rica and then later, her return to the fast paced life of a magazine editor in Las Vegas – and the read is totally addicting. I was really lucky that I got to meet Abby when I went to Vegas last May.  In true Vegas style,  we had tapas at the Cosmopolitan hotel, drank Champagne sangria and catapulted ourselves into the sky on the Big Shot. Abby is a sweetheart and lots of fun. As you can see from the photo below, she also has enviable hair 🙂

I hope you enjoy her advice to her younger self as much as I do!

1. Whether it’s at the bar (when offered a shot, just say, “no”) or in the dating world (men who come on strong often disappear just as quickly), be wary of instant gratification. Drink wine, sip slowly, and get to know love interests before jumping in feet first. There’s no rush and less of a hangover.

2. Work less. Ok, so you are currently breezing through college and spending way too many very late nights in South Beach clubs. But soon you will move to Manhattan and become a workaholic. The harder you work for virtually no money (hey, you chose to be a writer), the longer it will take to unwind later. Spend more time with your friends – you later end up choosing to move away from all of them, so hang out with them every minute you can.


3. You can be happier than your parents. And they will like it. Being a parent is hard, and yours have had some rough times. Who hasn’t? But they want to see you happy. See the world, fall in love, be selfish, don’t have kids. This is your life, and Mom just wants to see you living it to the fullest. When you finally (you end up being sort of a late bloomer in the “serious relationship” department) start looking for a man to marry, it turns out you want a completely different relationship than your parents have. And that’s ok! PS: Mom eventually becomes a globe-trotting travel junkie, so don’t feel guilty about moving out of the country later this year – go for it!4. Size 8 is hot. You think you’d be happier skinnier, but when you do get skinnier, you’re not “you,” so you have the most miserable year of your life.  So get over it now.

5. Watch your temper. A big chunk of becoming successful in the magazine industry is paying your dues. Yes, you will sometimes be smarter than the people above you, but they’ve been working longer than you. Be respectful, smile, and show up every day with a positive attitude. Your temper will get you in a lot of hot water if you don’t watch yourself. (You’re so stubborn that I know this one is falling on deaf ears.)

6. You will one day like dogs.  Yup. I know that “oh, I don’t like animals” so easily and innocently rolls off your tongue, but that will change. You move to the middle of nowhere in Costa Rica, get robbed, and then rescue the biggest street dog you can find. And he invites a friend. Then you move back to Las Vegas – with two large beasts. Life’s funny!

A reformed workaholic, Abby Tegnelia writes about being torn between living the good life she enjoyed in small town Costa Rica and the fast life of her current time as editor-in-chief of Vegas magazine in Las Vegas, NV on her personal travel and lifestyle blog, Connect with her her on facebook and twitter.

For more “Things I Would Tell my 20-Year Old Self” please see:

What would you tell your 20-year old self?

Things I Would Tell my 20-year Old Self #6 – Sam

Welcome to another installment of Things I Would Tell My 20-Year Old Self. Today we have my friend Sam from Met Another Frog here to do the honors. I have big love for the blogging team over at Met Another Frog. They manage to put out awesome, original, thought provoking content about sex & relationships almost daily – which, if you blog yourself you know is no easy feat. I’m convinced that they are in fact blogging superheroes.
Since we heard from his blogging partner in crime Skye Blue this fall, I was looking forward to getting Sam’s male perspective on what he would tell his younger self. Even though Sam’s a guy, I can still relate to a lot of the advice he gives his younger self. When I was 20 I partied like a rockstar, got naked with “crazies” (ahem, sometimes I was the “crazy” in that equation) and swigged my share of bottom shelf booze. I hope you enjoy his witty writing as much as I do!
As is typically the case with blogging Superheroes, Sam’s identity is shrouded in mystery. For a visual, this was the best I could come up with. I’m sure the ladies won’t mind the view!

My birthday is coming up and I can’t help but reflect a little, to think about what I have and haven’t done, to contemplate areas in my life that could use a little improvement and pat myself on the back for things I’ve done well. But with the years flying by and my age advancing at an alarming rate, I, like many people who have yet to get married or “settle down”, have begun really evaluating my choices in one area in particular: The sex/dating/mating arena.

I’m well into my 30s now and though I don’t think that’s old I recognize that the 20 year old version of me would beg to differ. But then again, the 20 year old version of me thought guzzling Long Island Ice Teas, downing shots of Southern Comfort plus smoking cheap cigars while swigging Grand Marnier and bumping and grinding with scantily clad young co-eds was a good time (okay, part of that is still a good time); a time when Peach Schnapps was still the height of sophistication.
And like most of us, there are things I really wish I knew then, things I wish someone had pulled me aside and shared before I decided that doing the Worm at the Homecoming Blow-Out would be the way to capture the hearts and minds, if not the bodies of the watching female population. So, if give the chance, here are the three biggest lessons I wish I could impart to the younger, brasher version of myself:
1.Less Is More: In almost every sphere of experience, and certainly when pursuing the opposite sex, less is more. Less cologne. Less drinking. Less (false) bravado. Less conformity. At 20 my primary concerns were girls, fun, drinking and girls. And really fun and drinking were just euphemisms for getting girls and being drunk enough to not fear rejection from girls. So, if 20 year old me called looking for advice before a night on the town, in order I would say, take it easy on the Cool Water, getting sh** faced doesn’t make you more clever it just makes you sh** faced, flashing a money clip or wads of cash at the bar while barking “dude, you wanna do Jager Bombs” only makes you a douche, and just because you play on the basketball team doesn’t mean you all have to be  dressed similarly at the club
2.Crazy In The Head does not equal Crazy In The Bed: Look, we’ve all dealt with a bit of crazy. Sometimes we’ve been the crazy. Seriously, who among us hasn’t said something along the lines of “s/he’s bat sh** crazy but man the sex is so good”. Well, I’m here to tell the world that being certifiably insane is not a prerequisite for good sex. When I stopped to reflect on partners I classified as crazy in the head but crazy in the bed I realized two things: First, it wasn’t the crazy that made the sex good it was that these particular individuals were open and willing to try new things; crazy has little or nothing to do with that. Second, what constitutes good sex at 20 is going to be waaaay different at 30. In fact, I think sex gets better as you mature and become more comfortable with yourself and better understand your likes and dislikes. Sex at 20 was an Olympic event; harder, longer, faster etc…Now, for me at least, I’m not competing I’m participating. So, if 20 year old me is listening through the mists of time, step away from the crazy girl, step away from the crazy girl. Seriously. You’ll save yourself time, energy, scratch marks and death threats.
3.Valentine’s Schmalentine’s: I’m not going to give you guys one of those “Valentine’s is such a commercial rip-off,  plus you should be treating your partner well all the time” speeches. Though I do believe all of that is true. But I do wish I could tell 20 year old me to take a breath and not put so pressure on himself. Maybe a little background is needed. The young lady I spent Valentine’s Day with when I was 20 had a laundry list of do’s and don’ts for this day. Her expectations were high and she seemed locked into some form of Cold War-esque brinksmanship with her friends to see who could up the ante and receive the best Valentine’s Day gift ever. This was stressful and dispiriting. And do you know where that girl is now? Well I don’t either and I couldn’t care less. Point being, anyone making such a big deal out of Valentine’s is probably missing the intended point of the day to begin with. Listen, young Sam Sharpe, find yourself a girl who doesn’t put that much stock into Valentine’s Day, a young lady who cares and appreciates you for who are. And you know what? Without that pressure to meet some weird or arbitrary standard you’ll likely feel more inclined and able to do something nice or special for that special someone.


Now, those three lessons would do 20 year old me a world of good. But the truth is it works both ways. As setbacks, heartbreaks and breakups have hardened my heart and jaded my soul, there are a few things I could learn from 20 year old me. Here is one:

Kick Back Relax and Have Some Fun: As much as I mock some of the things I found entertaining in my youth there is still much to learn from it. Somewhere along the line, as I entered the work force with bill payments and student loans bogging me down I forgot the sheer thrill of just going out with my crew. I forgot how good, energizing and just plain fun it was or is to hang out with my friends. The past couple weekends have afforded me the chance to do just that. I’m sure 20 year old me would be miffed to know that the crew I rolled with every weekend in my 20s might get together two or three times a year if we’re lucky.  Blame a combination of work (all of us), kids (them) and neglect (again, all of us) for that. On a couple of occasions I’ve heard it said that a variation on “I should have spent more time with or made more time for my friends” is one of the more prominent regrets of the aged and infirm. Not to be a downer or anything but I don’t want to be on my death bed wishing I’d seen my friends more often.

They say youth is wasted on the young. They also say experience teaches wisdom. Which really could just be interpreted as a more polite way of saying wisdom is wasted on the mature. Or you really have to screw things up a bunch of times before you figure anything out. Regardless, with my birthday on the horizon I prefer not to worry too much about all of that. I prefer to laugh off the folly of my youth and prepare to enjoy the experiences to come. I hope you do too.

Follow Sam on Twitter @TheManSamSharpe or at Met Another Frog

What would you tell your 20-year old (or younger) self? 

More “Things I Would Tell my 20-Year Old Self”:

Things I would Tell my 20-year Old Self #5 – Stef

It’s time for another installment of Things I would Tell my 20-year old Self. Doing the honor today is my friend Stef Woods of City Girl Blogs.

Stef is one of my favorite people I’ve “met” over the internet. The first time I read City Girl Blogs I remember thinking “Wow, someone who has as many crazy dating stories as me!” and I have been hooked ever since. There is so much that I find inspiring about Stef. You can tell she has a big heart, cares about the people around her & stands up for what she believes in. Her blog reads like the pages of a juicy novel with practical information on sex, health and relationships throughout.

I like to think of Stef as my “bloggy big sister”. I often email her to ask for her opinion on different issues and she always provides great advice. This is why I thought she’d be the perfect person to write this post.

I can’t wait for the day that we can hang out in person over some cupcakes & drinks!

I’ve tried my best to embrace every year. But, if I had the chance to travel back in time
and give the following advice to my early 20-something self, I would.

1. It will all work out as it’s meant to. At 20, you should take your current role as student, intern or employee seriously. And, it’s normal to plan for the future and care about which direction your life heads. Let your goals motivate you without overwhelming you. Life is filled with so many twists and turns that it’s important to embrace new opportunities and enjoy the ride. One bad grade, boyfriend, job or move won’t alter your path irreparably. I promise.

2. You can’t have it all.
I was raised by a feminist and went to a women’s college. I was taught that perfection is possible. In true Superwoman fashion, I wanted to be a successful lawyer and a great mother. However, once I started working in a law firm, it disappointed me to see that the best female partners had to sacrifice time with their children. Older women who stayed home with their children felt like they had lost touch with their cerebral side. And, women who tried to balance the two worlds always felt guilty about not being good enough – as a mother and
as an employee. (There’s a reason why a recent study of the habits of working mothers indicates that they work more on an hour-per-hour basis than their non-working female counterparts.) Perfection – in any arena — is unattainable. Decide what is important to you and work toward that. Allow yourself the permission and the flexibility to do what feels right to you at a given time in your life. Seek partners who share similar priorities.

3. Pay it forward. We have the power to change the negative stereotypes about how women interact with each other in the workplace. Seek strong female mentors in each course of study or at each job you hold. Reach out to younger students, interns and employees. Mentoring others will enable you to be as inspired and learn as much, if not more, than when someone mentors you.

4. Take a stand and believe in yourself. In a classroom setting, I’ve seen young women defer to the males in the class just because of their gender. In the workplace, I’ve seen administrative assistants and paralegals treated poorly by attorneys because they thought they couldn’t challenge their superiors. In the social media community, I’ve met incredibly intelligent women, questioning whether they are as competent as their male counterparts with the same or less experience. Believe in yourself! Don’t apologize for your points of view. Politely question those in the work place who are disrespecting you or seek out a female mentor’s guidance. Stand up for those at your university or office who aren’t being treated well. And, never doubt your own strengths and expertise!

5. Don’t take your health for granted. When I was 20, I called my parents and told them I thought I had frostbite. As it turned out, I was starting to go paralyzed. I thankfully made it to the hospital before it was too late to reverse the symptoms, but I learned at a relatively young age that my body was not invincible. If something is off with your health, see a doctor or go to the Emergency Room. Make sure that you are feeling your breasts for changes every month. Visit the gynecologist annually. See a dermatologist if you notice any abnormal growths on your skin. Learn to be your best health advocate now!

6. A few random asides:

a. Keep laughing and seeking out what makes your glass and your life half-full! Don’t ever lose those abilities!

b. Enjoy the energy that you have now! There will come a day when you won’t want to dance on the platform of a club until it closes, but you will look back on those days fondly.

c. Your old crazy sex stories will still make you laugh and shake your head when you’re older. But, as much as you love sex now, it gets so, so, so much better.

d. You’ve always made a conscious effort to prioritize your female friendships. That won’t change. You and your girls will see each other through more highs and lows than you can imagine. They are your soul mates.

e. Quite a few people will comment that you are abnormally close to your parents in your early 20s. Continue to spend as much time with them as you can. These are the memories that will sustain you when your Mom passes away.

f. Look in the mirror. Your 38-year-old self will miss your 20-year-old body, but that’s about it. You liked yourself then. You know and love yourself now.


Stef Woods is a university professor, attorney, sexuality educator, writer, and women’s health advocate. She writes about relationships, sexual health, breast cancer, and dating on her blog, City Girl’s Blog.

What would YOU tell your younger self?

Things I would Tell my 20-year old Self #4 – Skye

Hello Skinny Dippers!

Welcome to another installment Things I Would Tell my 20-Year old Self. I often wish I could go back in time and have a conversation with my younger self so I could tell her the things I’ve learned, give her a hug and let her know “don’t worry, everything is going to be OK”. Today I’m really excited to have my friend Skye Blue who will be sharing some of the things she’d tell her 20-year old self.

Skye is one third of the blogging powerhouse behind Met Another Frog – a funny, sexy, informative blog that offers both a male and female perspective on anything & everything related to dating and mating. Their blog is sassy & daring. From hilarious dating disasters to steamy sexual fantasies – they really do talk about everything (so much so, that most of the time they make my blog look like the Brady Bunch) If you love reading about sex & relationships and you haven’t checked out their blog yet you’re seriously missing out.

I love Skye’s confidence and fearless writing style so, I am really happy she’s decided to share some of her wisdom with us. I really like what Skye has to say and I hope you do too!

Take it away Skye!


I’m on the cusp of my 40th year and clearer about my life than I ever have been. As lovely as being 20 was (I had a blast way back then), I am so thankful for all that I now know as a 39 year old woman.

As a 20 year old I was: a fearful and insecure secure girl who tried to mask it with false bravado; naïve enough to be convinced that I knew everything; blunt to a fault; and incredibly intolerant of anyone who didn’t agree with my social/political views. A lot has changed since then (though perhaps not as much as I’d like to think), so here’s what I would tell my 20 year-old self if I had the chance to sit her down for a long chat…

1. Love yourself… for real. Virtually every day for the rest of your life you’re going to hear/see/receive messages (commonly known as advertising) that tell you that in one way or another, you’re not attractive, thin, rich, smart, strong, good or whatever enough. Don’t buy it for even a second. As the very wise Ms. Eleanor Roosevelt said, no one can make you feel inferior without your consent. So never ever give it to anyone or anything trying to keep you down.

2. Don’t waste time worrying about what people think of you. Take it from me, you’re probably not even on the radar of anyone you believe may be concerned with the goings on in your life. Truth is the vast majority of people (at least the ones who have anything at all going for them) are way too caught up in the mess of their own lives to be bothered with what you’re doing. So live and let live, and just do you.

3. Never forget that you teach people how to treat you. This applies to both your business and personal life – including your relationships with your family members, friends and love interests. So always ask for (and if necessary demand) the respect/treatment you know you deserve, because nobody else is going to do it for you. What’s more if you don’t, rest assured there will be plenty of people waiting in line to take advantage of your failure to do so.

4. Practice less judgment and more compassion. Nobody’s perfect. As a human being with many frailties you’ll make mistakes, occasionally disappoint people, and with more regularity than you’d ever care to admit, hurt the ones you love the most. So master the art of compassion…particularly for yourself.

5. Value your longstanding friendships. Don’t ever take your old friends – you know, the ones who’ve stood by your side, front and center even, in good times and bad – for granted. The trusted members of your inner circle are going be your bedrock for most, if not all of your life. So treat them well and let them know how much you appreciate them often.

6. Be fearlessly adventurous. Seek out new experiences. Spend time in conversation (more often than not listening) to people who are different from you. Travel every chance you get. Each new experience you have will teach you something about yourself and the world you live in. All you have to do is keep an open mind so you can soak all those lessons in.

What would you tell your 20-year old (or younger) self?

For more of this series, check out:

Things I Would Tell my 20-year old Self #3 -Liz

I haven’t been writing this week because my sister is visiting. Between running around Toronto doing touristy things (shopping, pedicures, coffee, bookstores, repeat) we’ve been watching the original 90210 series (from the 90’s!) from the beginning = Sisterly bonding at its best. I’ve been trapped in the land of West Beverly High and the Peach Pit and its likely I won’t be back for another 48 hours or so. Luckily, my friend Liz has stepped in to provide a guest post today!

Liz is the community manager for We Love Dates & the author behind one of my favorite blogs It’s Unbeweavable. Elizabeth’s blog was one of the first blogs I got into when I first started blogging. Maybe it’s because I could tell that she and I went through similar experiences as 20-somethings or that she shares my secret love for sugary alcohol and Aaron Spelling dramas but, I instantly connected to what she was writing about. Liz is smart & passionate & brave. Whether she’s writing about shoes or something difficult she’s going through, I love Liz’s ability to take whatever she’s feeling and transform it into a post that makes me smile & leaves me feeling inspired. She’s awesome. Oh & she has great hair. I want her hair. Did that sound creepy? Maybe a little bit?

I was really excited when Liz said she’d write the next installment of “Things I Would Tell my 20-year Old Self”. I hope you enjoy her list & check out her blog!

Take it away Liz!!!

I can’t believe some of the ridiculous things I did when I was 20! Armed with too many credit cards, new found freedom and an affinity for fruity liquor and dark eyeliner, I was going to take over the world…if only I could stop watching 90210 reruns and obsessing over some dude. Ten years later, I like to think I’ve learned a few things about life, love and everything in between. Here are a few things I would tell my 20 year old self.

1. When you get your heart broken, and you will, feel it. Don’t run away from the pain, don’t cover it up with other guys or drinking too much. Feel it. Talk to your friends and your family. Don’t push people away, and do not let this harden you. Feel it…and feel yourself getting stronger. You will forget most things about him, but you will never forget how he made you feel-and you’ll never settle for that again. Oh, and also? You’ll meet someone 20 million gazillion times better soon, so don’t worry about that…I promise.

2. Don’t gossip.

Follow the golden rule- “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Feeling popular and super included is fun, but it’s not worth it if you have to be a snobby little bitch! You weren’t raised like that! Be kind. Find the good in everyone.

3. Learn about your finances.

I know, borrrrring. But do it! Doesn’t matter if you’re dealing with $100 or $100,000. Learn how to save, learn about 401ks and all that jazz, learn how to do your taxes. Even if someone else handles your money, don’t just turn a blind eye. You worked hard for it. On that note, knock it off with the credit cards and nooo you will not wear those shoes so don’t buy them!

4. Keep it classy. Respect yourself and your body. This means-don’t sleep with everyone, protect yourself when you do, try to occasionally eat a vegetable, and for the loove of God, drinking 2 bottles of cheap wine through a straw is not a good look on you.

5. Instead of spending your hard earned cash on “stuff”, spend it on priceless experiences. Travel. Take a trip with your sister, your best friend or your boyfriend. Or, if you really want to get the most out of it, go alone. Get out of your comfortable bubble and explore the world. Learn about new cultures, new foods, but most importantly, learn about yourself. This is the time to do it-settling down is not something you need to be worried about right now.

6. Make face to face time a priority. Have lunch with your Mom. Go see your grandparents even if you don’t want to because your friends are doing something “cool”. Visit a friend who is having a hard time. Soon, most communication will be done over the internet or via text…and you’ll miss spending time with the people you love.

7. Take your make-up off every night and use an eye cream, preferably a serum. Trust me, when you’re 30, you’re going to wish you still looked 20.

8. Work hard…but Chill Out. So many unexpected things are about to happen-be open to them and roll with the punches. Follow your passion and don’t ever let negative people or self doubt stand in the way of you and your goals, because trust me, they will try.

What would YOU tell your 20-year old (or younger) self?

For more of this series, check out part 1 & part 2.

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