On Turning TwentyOne


If you’re turning twenty one (21!!) today… May 7, 2011, I’d like to humbly offer you some advice, as your elder of 9 whopping years.

I know you’re not asking for advice.  I know I’m not an expert at life…  I just have a few gems I want you to take with you.

One:  Raw honey and baking soda make a really lovely face scrub.  True.  Try it!

Two:  Eat something green everyday.

Three:  Chill out on the Facebook.  Seriously.  It’s not real life.

Four:  Learn how to sew something.  Anything.  At least learn how to sew your buttons back on your shirts.

Five:  If your button up shirt is bulging at the boobs… wear another shirt.  OR, just unbutton that button.  We’re talking exposed bra.   You’ll need to wear a necklace or two if you’re going to go this route.  You’re also going to need to walk tall and own it…. and stay away from public transportation.

Six:  Make lists on Post-It notes and knock em out, cross em off, get things done.

Seven:  Look people in the eye and listen when they speak.  It’s a nice touch.  It’s the opposite of Facebook.

Eight:  Is your resting face… the expression that you have when you’re just hanging out watching Real Housewives of Orange County… is that face bitchy?  Change that.  Try not to look bitchy when you’re just hanging out.

Nine:  Don’t drink too much rum… ever.

Ten:  Don’t be one of those girls that carries one of those long, giant cocktail cups around the streets of Las Vegas.  It really gives the wrong impression.  You’ll also have to pee a lot.

Eleven:  If a guy is a jerk, he’s dead to you.  You don’t need that bologna.  Eat an ice cream cone and move the heck on.

Twelve:  Don’t do stupid things that relate to booze, boys, nudity, and consequences.  Keep it together.  Drink more water than booze.  Sloppy is never cute.

Thirteen:  What’s important?  Make a list.  Honor it.

Fourteen:  Pull your hair back and wear pretty earrings.  Own it.

Fifteen:  Make things for people.

Sixteen:  Don’t be afraid of being overdressed.  Dresses are pretty and heels are awesome.  But!  If the heels make you walk like a robot… go with flats.  Know thyself.

Seventeen:  Boxes of cold cereal and a carton of milk make a strange and kinda funny hostess gift.  Coco Puffs and 2 percent.  Try it.

Eighteen:  Buy your friends random gifts… it’s just a nice thing to do.

Nineteen:  Don’t be afraid of looking dumb, asking a stupid question, falling on your face, getting rejected, ripping off your shirt on a crowded street, or being otherwise embarrassed.  We’ll be dead soon.

Twenty:  Put it on the Lord.  Good.  Bad.  Pretty.  Messy.  Put it all on the Lord.  Now… I know I don’t know you like that but… I’m just sayin’.

TwentyOne:  Work hard at the thing that you love.  Like… really hard.  Don’t let anyone tell you that it’s dumb.  If they do tell you it’s dumb… work harder and prove them wrong.  But don’t rub it in their face- just be gracious, and wear expensive lipstick, and smile, and keep working.


500 thoughts on “On Turning TwentyOne

  1. 1st things 1st…
    Happy Birthday Brittany!

    Joy, you’re awesome and I freaking love you and your post! :)

    Especially love #20 of the list.

  2. I read your blog all the time, but have never before commented.

    This post really moved me- the generosity of your spirit and your cooking.

    You’re awesome!

  3. THIS WAS THE BEST POST EVER. You know something is really good-funny when you read it aloud to someone else :D Just eggcellent! (and true!)

  4. May people are great people. I turned 22 on May 6th, so I’m going to totally take your advice on board. Do you have an additional tip for that good old 22? <3

  5. Dear Joy.
    I’m turning 21 in two weeks, so I read your advice very carefully.
    I already make lists, but I really should learn to sew.
    Thanks for telling Brittany and us not to feel embarassed for asking stupid questions.
    I’ll keep working hard at the things I love. I’ll prove people that I can realize my dreams.
    Thanks, Joy. A big hug.

  6. My sister turned 21 last year and my advice to her, being now also 9 years away from 21 was

    ‘the world is your oyster. Treat it as such and enjoy the adventure.’

    It was such an exciting age, your twenties laid out infront of you…

    Ohh, I’m getting all reminiscent now! Better go check out some old photos and drink gin.

  7. 3 things.

    1. I love love love this post. I turn 21 in November and this is probably the best (possibly the only) advice I’ll get for turning fully legal.

    2. The first post I ever ever read of yours was about you ripping your shirt off in public because of a clever little bee. That, in my opinion, has to be the best way to be introduced to you. Virtually, anyway. Which brings me to my point. You have this uncanny ability to make everything in life, not only okay, but funny. Really funny. No matter what it is. And I just love that about you.

    1. I suppose, thanks to my impatient computer, thing number 3 can go here.

      3. That same uncanny ability to make everything okay has gotten me through more stressful days than I can remember. I mostly think of how funny a stressful situation would be if it were in blog form, especially if you wrote it. So thanks.

  8. I think we could be friends. Because this is amazing. I love your blog.
    Happy Birthday Brittany! and, also, I’m bookmarking this for my 21st (in one year and two months and 13 days… not hinting anything at all…)
    I love the “Eat something green everyday”. It reminds me of Michael Pollan’s food manifesto: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

  9. I have to say that is great/amazing advice. Especially 5 and 19 and the facebook bits. If you can’t think of enough recipes for a second cookbook, I think you could just write a funny life advice book. And, well, maybe it could include a few recipes. But it could be mostly genius like this. :)

    also, that is super sweet you are sharing your wisdom with brittany & the rest of the world.

  10. Joy,
    thanks for always keeping it “real”, even for those of us quite past 21.
    I love you for that.
    Happy Birthday, Brittany!

  11. Like always, a fantastic post. As I read your list of tips, I found myself nodding, and smiling, and nodding, and giggling. Not in that order. Its light years ago since I was 21…or 30, and through the years, I’ve stumbled, fallen, gotten up (again and again x a million times) that I should really think seriously about knee reconstruction. Wish I knew someone like you when I was 21 with a handy list of tips just like that. I’d have much smoother knees! :-)

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