A radiant woman with joyful self-care tips and a smile, arranging fresh red tulips in a white vase in a cozy, well-appointed kitchen with open shelving filled with dishware.

Do you know how much I love reading your comments?


It is one of my greatest joys in this life.

To write something and have someone respond is a gift.

When I wrote the story of the ring and what I discovered it brought up all the things from all those years at Baylor.


It was so challenging.

I didn’t have a car so I saved my pennies working at Dairy Queen the summer between freshman and sophomore year at Baylor to buy a moped. I drove that moped everywhere. It was only .25 to fill it up and I drove it to work every day on the Waco circle. I worked at El Chico’s and the required uniform was a brilliantly patterned long dress with a cinched waist and a big embroidered tie. I’d tease my hair up to the high heavens and put on red lipstick and the largest pair of parrot earrings you have ever seen.

And me, my waitress costume and I would take off down La Salle towards the restaurant with those parrot earrings flowing in the wind.

It was epic.

It was show shopping.

It was the talk of the campus.

My friends would drive by and honk and I’d wave and smile, but just between us? Sometimes a little piece of me would shrivel inside with embarrassment.

But now?

I wouldn’t trade those parrot earrings for all the world.

A woman smiling as she arranges a bouquet of red tulips in a white vase on a kitchen counter, with shelves in the background.


Because that’s really when the foundation of who I am today—that’s where it all started.

That dress and that lipstick and those earrings.

They helped me learn about long hours and aching feet and hard work. They helped me learn about representing and standing up and being counted and why I shouldn’t quit when the going got tough.

Here’s what I learned.

Here’s what I took to heart and never let go and still embrace today.

Words for the road ahead.

Life lessons learned from a pair of parrot earrings.

A modern kitchen with a white dining table featuring a vase of red tulips and additional tulips scattered across the table. white open shelves hang in the background.

1.  Never apologize for where you are on the journey


Even if you are driving a moped to work around the Waco Circle because you can’t afford a car.

Even if you’re wearing trash bags over your embroidered dress because it’s raining and the only way to get to work was on your moped.

Even if your parrot earrings are whipping in the wind.

This is your journey. This is your path.

Where you are today will take you to amazing tomorrows.

Hold your head up high and fly your earrings proudly.

A joyful woman preparing tulips and exploring self-care tips at a cozy home kitchen counter, with a backdrop of neatly arranged shelves filled with dishes.

2.  Be authentic

Guess what?

You. Are. Amazing.

You.  The you that stands at the restaurant window watching your friends drive by on a Friday night to go to the movies while you wipe off dirty tables.

You.  The you working so hard that your Aqua Net hair wilts.

You.  The one following your heart and your dream.

Just wake up every day.

Put one foot in front of the other.

And be the best YOU that you can.

A bunch of fresh red tulips lying on a white surface with a blurry white vase of tulips and a modern kitchen in the background.

3. Work hard

This moment?

It’s temporary.

A drop in the bucket of life.

But here’s the thing. Those first steps in the workforce? Showing up. Putting in the hours. Listening and learning every minute. Putting your best foot forward.

They are the foundation for the rest of your life.

Take those tiny, little steps now.

So you can run like the wind later.

4.  Dream

I know it’s such a Hallmark answer.

I get it.

I understand.

But here’s the thing.


If you don’t know where you are going—it’s so much harder to get there.

Think big. Plan big. Dream big.

Right now, you and your red lipstick are just trying to get through college.

But one day there will be a thing called the internet.

One day you’ll start a blog.

One day you’ll write books and design a fabric line and a product line and travel and speak and be able to write stories for the most amazing readers on the planet.

Make sure those dreams are ready.

A cheerful woman with blonde hair and red lipstick standing behind a kitchen island, smiling widely and holding a red tulip—a symbol of her self-care tips—with more tulips in a white vase and an

5.  Buckle your seatbelt

Oh, my little scooter-riding friend.

If you only knew.

The places you’ll go.

The dreams you’ll live.

The family that will walk beside you every step of the way.

The amazing, awe-inspiring, incredible life that is waiting for you behind the next curve.

Life is about to take you on an amazing journey.

Buckle up buttercup.

And take those parrot earrings with you. 🙂

PS I just wanted to thank you from the BOTTOM of my heart. None of this. Absolutely NONE of it would be possible without you. 🙂

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  1. Image for Mary Mary

    What important life lessons you have shared and I hope the young people of today are learning these very same lessons. Makes life a much better place for all of us.

  2. Image for Connie Dvorak Connie Dvorak

    What a dear story of beginnings. I love it. Everyone has one and yours is precious. Some day I’ll share with you how much you have helped me but today there’s only time to say God bless you and yours and have a lovely day. It’s off to a wonderful start!

  3. Image for Tracey A Tracey A

    Karianne, Thank you for that beautiful and heartfelt advice. As I get older and sometimes I look back at all the things I went through, (good and bad) it makes me, me! I am so glad that God is with me and I am able to accept myself even though I had trouble in the first 30 years of my life. Love your blog. Keep being the sunshine.

  4. Image for laura laura

    So happy you shared this story. It is a great reminder and timely for many of us. My first job was at McDonalds. I was not old enough to drive so my mom would drop me off and pick up after my four-hour shifts. I wore lovely brown polyester, elastic waistband pants with a capped sleeve matching top. I learned so much. Of course, I ditched the job the following summer to work for a cute boy whose dad owned a company that back in the day printed topography land maps. I got to color the maps while listening to my cassette tapes.

  5. Image for Susan Sims Susan Sims

    True that. Never be ashamed to work hard EVER. EVER. I am a lawyer and got knocked around by a serious of hard knocks - natural disaster, family illness, and job losses. It wasn’t pretty for two years, and we could have cried in our soup or we could put our pride in our pockets and WORK. I waitressed, cleaned houses, and babysat, etc. He worked for commission only. And guess what? We kept our house, our kids stayed in school, and everyone ate. Same thing happened to my father, the rocket scientist in the ‘70’s when the space program dried up - he took jobs “beneath him” to support his family, like working in the mall. Never be ashamed to do what needs to be done. Be proud to do it. It is a badge of honor and strength of character. And, frankly, I used it as a talking point in job interviews to say that I have never said, “That’s not my job. When I was out of work I cleaned toilets and waitressed. I’ll do what needs to be done to get the job done.”

  6. Image for BOOTSIE BOOTSIE

    KariAnne, What a great post !!!! You are so down to earth and a joy to read !!!! It really sounds like you had a fun time, even if there were days that were long and hard...what a wonderful life you have now and I can tell how grateful you are...all the best to you and your family ...

  7. Image for Jodena Beale Jodena Beale

    KariAnne What true lessons you have learned thru life. And the years are gone before you know it. But look at your memories you have. How could anything be any better? Loved this story, and the story teller.

  8. Image for Robin Plummer Robin Plummer

    Karianne, I love your story and your can do spirit! It's so much better to go through life and enjoy the ride. My first vehicle was an old yellow Toyota corolla. The old car had it's engine blown because some sweet college girl didn't know about changing the oil in her car. My grandfather purchased the car for $85.00 in 1977, and then he sold it to me for $86.00, you know he had to turn a profit. My father was able to rebuild the engine in that old corolla and because the floor board was full of peanut shells, I decided to name her Peanut! Every time I changed her gears, she would give a little backfire. I loved my noise making Peanut!

  9. Image for Elaine McConnell Elaine McConnell

    Karianne, I look forward to reading your blog everyday! You make me laugh and cry with your stories, and I can relate on so many of your journeys. Continue sharing your love and humor for you are a bright spot for so many of us.

  10. Image for Revonda Stordahl Revonda Stordahl

    I love your posts! You are always so uplifting and encouraging! Reading your blog every morning makes my day so much better. By the way, I too had a pair of parrot earrings when I was much younger!

  11. Image for CathyAnn CathyAnn

    Karianne, I always love reading your life stories. This one is extremely special because I can relate so much. In fact, I'm bookmarking this post. Thank you!

  12. Image for Leslie Watkins Leslie Watkins

    Oh, friend! I never knew you had or rode a moped OR worked at El Chico’s! Our favorite restaurant…I need the apple pie with ice cream recipe! Loved this post, sweet friend…earrings and all!

  13. Image for Rizae Rizae

    Karianne, I love your stories. You and your stories were with me during my fight with bc. The surgery, radiation and healing were easier to deal with reading your blog. Keep it up. You amaze me with your humor and openness. Big Hugs,

  14. Image for Marty Ward Marty Ward

    Your joy is contagious! I so look forward to your posts, sometimes funny, often wise and thought provoking, always immensely creative and entertaining. Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us! ❤️❤️❤️

  15. Image for Debbie Debbie

    You are indeed the best blogger and a great person. I so wish there were sooooo many more KariAnn 's out there. I too by good parents worked and had good values and understood doing a good job no matter what you did. I too hope young people read your blog and get it! People just don't seem to care anymore, too much hurray for me going on! Thankyou for what you do everyday

  16. Image for T J T J

    Another wonderful sharing! You are much younger than I, but I remember so many things that bring joy to my thoughts and so many things that are heartbreaking. God is so good with helping us in the things that hurt - but he seems to give us great joy in the ones that make us smile! I know you have great words for us every time! You are a joy, precious lady!

  17. Image for Marlene Marlene

    You are so welcome!! Thank you for all your hard work in giving these wonderful posts you write with all the inspiration. It's always a joy to read these each and every day.

  18. Image for Laura Harrie Laura Harrie

    KariAnne, The question is do you still have your parrot earrings? Would love to see them and you wearing those parrots!

  19. Image for Cindy Cindy

    This is such a great story and I adore it when you write in single sentences. I'd write 5 posts a week if I could write a post in single sentences, LOL. I can imagine your tiny self riding on a pink mophead. Always an inspiration and if you have the parott earrings take a picture!

  20. Image for Edith Pickens Edith Pickens

    What a fantastic post! Thanks for sharing your amazing journey and bringing us along for the ride. What a great testament to the fact that persistence and hard work keep us moving forward to great places in life.

  21. Image for Carol Carol

    Karianne, You are the sweet spot in my day. I look forward to your emails. We have all had hard lessons and they make us what we are today. Thank you for such a great inspiring post.

  22. Image for Angela Boswell Angela Boswell

    Dear KariAnne, you've been such a blessing to all of us who sign in everyday to hear another wonderful tip or special life story. We've laughed with you and cried too. (Healthy tears) You hit the nail on the head when you said it all begins with a good foundation. It's the compass we use through our life. Its the Solid Rock we stand on everyday. Be humble, Be kind, and Be the best we can be. By the way, my husband tells me every time we get in the car to go..."Buckle Up Buttercup." Thank You for being our friend. Angela

  23. Image for Stephanie Stephanie

    Dear KariAnne, This has to be one of my favorite posts ever - I might have shed a tear or two!! I can still remember finding my way in my late teens and early twenties and just putting one foot in front of the other. With my girl now at Baylor and getting to experience so many things that I never got to, I feel immense pride in the fact that her daddy and I worked so hard so that she will get amazing 4 years down there. Thanks again for sharing this story and spreading joy!

  24. Image for Cathy Cathy

    Thank you, Karianne, for all the great blogs! I am in Peru and brought clips from your cruise blog, big help! I worked a 2nd job in a kitchen in college and rode a bicycle. I remember those times I was working while fun was elsewhere. Those lessons we learn forged us and I am so proud of us! Thanks for all the fun!!

  25. Image for Marie Davis Marie Davis

    You know what the way you write is so incredible and I know I’ve told you this before but I love telling you for your content, but I also love the way you write. It’s like you’re just sitting beside me telling a story and I love it and it makes me cry and feel what you are telling, your gifted !!❤️


    KariAnne, you are such a blessing and are loved so much! Thanks, once again, for sharing your precious memories -- and your heart -- with us. You went through some tough times but you kept on doing what you had to do to get through. It's wonderful to see how God has blessed you through these times and made you the precious gal you are today! You are so special! Bless you! You are such a wonderful "gift" to us and we thank God for you!

    1. Image for Linda C Roberts Linda C Roberts

      KariAnne, I’m so proud of you❣️❣️ When we first met, you were the mother of those two handsome young men and those adorable little twin girls. I was the fortunate one who got to be the twins’ first grade teacher! It was a wonderful year and I have pictures to prove it! You and your family were a ray of sunshine, with a big serving of happiness and encouragement❣️And now the world gets to enjoy the wonder of you❣️ Shine on, Sweet Lady❣️Your writing gives me a very Happy Heart❣️🙏🏻❤️🙏🏻 Hugs and love always! Linda C Roberts

  27. Image for Janette Deans Janette Deans

    Bless your heart KeriAnne, I love to read your posts. You don't just waffle on about any old thing, your so 'real' and I think its what we all love about you. From the first time I read your blog there was something different, then the first book, wow, I laughed and cried, and that, my friend, is what your all about. You truly are amazing, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the sunshine smiles and tears too. May you keep going for many years to come. xx

  28. Image for Diana Diana

    Great post KariAnne and now I know your secret, parrot earrings. LOL Much love always your really do bring the sunshine,

  29. Image for Idella Cantrell Idella Cantrell

    This is your best sharing yet. We never know what is going to be but being prepared with optimism, good character, and healthy self respect let's us find a wonderful place in this great big world. Thank you for making my day with your joy for life and the blessings God has given you. Idella Cantrell

  30. Image for Sharon Sharon

    My husband also worked at El Chico when he was in college. He calls it his other education! He learned a lot waiting tables! He ended up getting a PhD in physics! He did it all himself! So much to be proud of!

  31. Image for PJ PJ

    I love imagining you on that moped with your parrot earrings. It sounds like something out of a wonderful rom-com. I am in Texas visiting grands and trying to impart just the kind of knowledge that you write about here. Have an amazing day, KariAnne!

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