I spent the last two days working with one of my favorite brands, Jeffrey Court on an upcoming project that I can’t WAIT to share.

The team came to the house and brought me these flowers and together….

….we planned out the behind the scenes and went all a little “hello karianne—this is your life.”

Like returning to my old high school.

And visiting the downtown square.

And photographing the entrance to town.

And the water tower.

And where I used to “cruise the Gate.”

And the curb where I kissed a pair of sparkling eyes.

And where during college a long ago in a time far away, I worked at a Mexican restaurant in a brightly colored dress with red lipstick and amazing Aqua Net hair….

…wearing the most brilliantly colored pair of parrot earrings.

I think 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.  I’d come home from my job and sit across a desk in this office in this house and have lengthy discussions with my father.  He shared his heart and words of wisdom about representing and standing up and being counted and why I shouldn’t quit after two weeks on the job.

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.

1.  Never apologize for where you are on the journey


Even if you are driving a scooter down the main street of town to work because you can’t afford a car.

Even if you’re wearing your Mexican dress covered with trash bags because it’s raining.

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.

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.

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.  Truth?  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.

Make sure those dreams are ready.

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. 🙂

Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.


  1. Image for karen karen

    Being a big fan of boxes and galvanized stuff...I do hope you will be sharing the stuff on the bench.It's good. Kirklands?

  2. Image for Beth Joyce Beth Joyce

    You are one of the only bloggers I still follow that is doing the neutral/white/galvanized/etc thing because I am tiring a little of the look and only have so much time in my day. I still follow you because you are SO AUTHENTIC and HILARIOUS and you always make me smile. This post proves those two words -- Authentic AND Hilarious. x0x0

  3. Image for Margaret Mills Margaret Mills

    Sounds like a great graduation speech—just add a little something for the guys! It’s short, sweet, funny, and full of wonderful life lessons. Hope someone asks you to speak at their graduation wearing your bright red lipstick and parrot earrings. Your talent amazes me-God gave you 10 talents and you made 10 more-all for His glory.

  4. Image for Lisa Lisa

    Take me to Church this morning!!!!! You must have known I needed to hear all these words. Have an amazing day. XOXO Lisa

  5. Image for Cindy@countyroad407 Cindy@countyroad407

    Great words as always. I wanted to tell you that since the Lord brought you into my life and introduced us, I have been so blessed. I'm not the same. You have no idea how much I think about the stories you've told, the encouragement you've given and the means to dream and work harder. You, you did that. Thank you thank you thank you! I look forward to my new slow going journey. Last thing - is it okay that my dream is to be like KariAnne? Not you. Just LIKE you. ;)

  6. Image for Sarah B Sanders Sarah B Sanders

    Dang, girl. I need to hear these words today. It's so easy to compare my floundering beginning to someone else's grand finale. Thanks for the encouragement, the challenge, the "you got this, girl" attitude. Love ya so! XOXO!

    1. Image for Char Char

      I'm right there with you, Sarah. It's so easy to compare where I am to someone else and then decide that I'll never make it.

  7. Image for Sheila Montgomery Sheila Montgomery

    Please know that I copied this post from some young ladies I know who are working and attending college. I hope they find it as inspirational as I did (I'm nearing retirement.) I always enjoy your blog but I think this is my favorite post ever! Keep posting and showing the pictures of your home-wish I could sit down with you and have a glass of sweet tea-you're the best!

  8. Image for Leslie Watkins Leslie Watkins

    Oh, my friend. You ALWAYS inspire me. Love the encouragement. And those gorgeous photos are all anticipating poignant moments about to occur. Open doors just waiting for what’s on the other side. P.S. Just need one more photo of you in those parrot earrings!

  9. Image for glenda glenda

    Amen on the parrot earrings.... A reminder of where you have been is always a great thing. Thank you for the great post. Excited for your journey.

  10. Image for Diane Diane

    The best post I’ve read so far. I’ve only been reading blogs since my surgery 2.5 yrs ago. Didn’t know there was such a thing until then. And didn’t know what I was missing.

  11. Image for Melissa Dale Melissa Dale

    Wow, this made me cry. Beautiful, true words, spoken through experience! Thank you. I am trying to figure out how to share this with my 14 year old son without him getting all weird about all the girly stuff in between 😘 Thank you for being your authentic you!

  12. Image for Jolyn Jolyn

    I'm sending this to my daughter who graduates from college next month, and to my son, who just became engaged, and whose path has been "winding," but with lots of lessons learned along the way. Thanks for the words...

  13. Image for Terri Terri

    Amazing words of encouragement .... What a blessing today..... thank you ... and now ... I must return to the picture of the staircase ... I am mesmerized!! :)

  14. Image for Naomi Naomi

    God always knows what we need and when to present it. I needed your words today!!! Thanks lady. You're the bestest! (in my Angelica voice).

  15. Image for Libby Libby

    Beautifully said! I'm saving this for inspiration for when our one, lovely granddaughter graduates and heads off to college next month. I'm so happy for her and your message is perfect. It's just the beginning of what will be. Thank you.

  16. Image for Maria A Trunzo Maria A Trunzo

    I still have my parrot earings from the late 1980's. I wore them when I worked part time & took college credit classes to complete my bachelor's degree, went through a major move because of husband's job change, & helped encourage our two children to receive their degrees. I love them.

  17. Image for Rosemary Rosemary

    What a beautiful message! Going to make my granddaughter, who will sigh and roll her eyes, read this. Someday she’ll be grateful she did. Thank you!

  18. Image for Julie Briones Julie Briones

    Of course this is a great post! I don't think any of us are surprised! ;-) But, we do love the writer that you are, and the woman that you are, too! I need to pin this, but first I need to start a board that's titled "Thistle-reads"... Oooo, that's good... *runs to go see if Pinterest has this board already* Hugs and hearts, friend!

  19. Image for Teresa Teresa

    What an inspiration you are, just the EXTRA ray of Sunshine God sends your bloggers each post! Wished you were my next door neighbor!!!

  20. Image for Tanna Schreiner Tanna Schreiner

    This really spoke to me. You are a true friend whom I have never met. Thank you for sharing your amazing and inspiring words. Now I need to go buckle up! :)


    Oh! KariAnne! What wonderful words of wisdom today! You are such a blessing and I thank God for you! Keep writing from your heart! God Bless you, dear friend!

  22. Image for Kathy Kathy

    Love, love, love, your words of encouragement. I have a parrot earrings too. Well, not really parrots. They are more like big white circles and they are clip-ons. Hee hee. Same lessons, work hard, be authentic, keep dreaming. And I am not sure I ever apologized for where I was in my journey, but I have finally realized I don't have to. What a great feeling. Thanks so much for sharing with us. Like a fellow comment-leaver above, I'd live to share some sweet tea and conversation. Blessings for your journey, as it continues.

  23. Image for Donna Marie Donna Marie

    I am what I am today (64 years old) because of a lot of different jobs, but I like where I am and that's what counts--although I never had any parrot earrings!!! Love ya, Karianne!!!

  24. Image for Marian@CMShawStudios Marian@CMShawStudios

    I love this post. You are such a darling person. I want parrot earrings now. And I had a dream I came to visit you in Texas last night. I woke up happy. If I ever come to the Dallas area, will you go to Magnolia Market with me? Smooches, The Other Marian

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