7 Impactful Lessons to Take into 2016

Happy *Belated* Thanksgiving to all – I hope you had a great time with your families and friends! I may have had double the pie this year, but I had to make sure baby got some too 🙂

*All of the pics in this post are taken by us in different areas over the course of the year. The cover pic above is in the Raritan Bay between Brooklyn, NY and Perth Amboy, NJ.

I want timageo talk about growing with your experiences, and figure out how you classify something as “impactful”?  Looking back at 2014, I actually thought that it was a super life changing year – I had a career position change, I had done some traveling for work in a new city, moved in with a significant other for the first time (yes it was Craig), and had to face some unexpected family health issues for the first time. As I begin to look back on 2015, it makes 2014 seriously seem like a breeze – but I also started thinking about what makes something feel impactful? Like is it really fair for me to say 2014 was a breeze, just because 2015 was more challenging?

Point Pleasant Beach, NJ

I’ve kind of started to realize that life really does get harder, but more rewarding as you go. Each year is going to be progressively more “life changing”  and impactful than the last, if you are constantly wanting more for yourself, taking on new opportunities, advancing in your career, building a family, or all of the above.  I truly feel like we are given what we can handle –  if you’re rising to meet the challenges of each New Year, I think you are on the right path to success and will start to see exponential rewards. Take the word rewards lightly – rewards aren’t just monetary. They can be improved relationships, learning how to do something better, becoming a better individual.  One of my favorite principles of all time is “you reap what you sow” aka how you treat people, how hard you work, what you put into the world, and how you carry yourself day to day is what will come back to you in return. What are you doing each day, month or year to reap something good back into your life? What steps have you taken that are getting you closer to your dreams and goals, or what you see for your life?

Princeton Battlefield State Park

I believe if something was impactful it means that we’ve learned something to take with us moving forward or we’ve grown as an individual. Here are some personal life lessons (super random of course) I’ve learned THIS year – I hope you all can relate to some of them and take with you moving forward:

You can’t predict your life events. 

You can set goals about what you want to accomplish, take opportunities as they come and plan how you want it to go, but there are always going to be goals you never knew you had, and opportunities that can take you places you never thought you would be. cough living in the beautiful Garden State- This doesn’t mean you SHOULDN’T plan, just know that it likely won’t turn out as the road map you’ve drawn for yourself. What has happened this year that you didn’t expect? I’m trying to remember this as I now have to come up with a birth plan for February. Yikes. It turns out a birth plan isn’t really a plan at all because you can’t predict Mother Nature. It’s a rough draft. What I’m saying is, “Life is like a birth plan.” Be flexible.

New Hope, PA

Appreciate your Mom and/or Dad

I feel a new sort of appreciation for my parents since becoming pregnant, and I KNOW this will increase ten fold as we become parents. They worked their asses off to birth, feed, and raise us. Additionally, although we always feel it won’t happen to us, illness can plague even the happiest of families at any time. Don’t take their health for granted – they are getting older just as you are. I don’t think people realize this until something significant happens, I know I didn’t.

Keep Groceries in the House.

Grocery shopping is literally one of my least favorite activities you can ask me to do, but it is so worth it – both financially and health wise (shop on the outside perimeter, people.) Everyone says they want to pack more, cook more, and buy less, but why don’t they?  If we go grocery shopping on a Sunday, I can literally go weekend to weekend without using my debit card (with the exception of monthly bills.) We once went 10 days without buying one meal outside of the house. We were so proud that we celebrated by going out to eat, LOL.

Princeton University

If you can’t stop thinking about something, you should do it.

Maybe you have been thinking about a difficult email you need to write to a co-worker that you’ve been putting off, or reaching out to a friend that you’ve recently had a falling out with. Maybe it’s something long term -you want to start a business or a joint venture but you have no idea where to start. Start jotting down ideas. Maybe you want a new job, career, to go back to school, or to move. You should really start thinking about what steps you can take to make it happen. I am a big believer that we are the result of the choices we make, not victims of circumstance. I had been talking about starting a blog and/or website for months to several individuals… eventually people get tired of hearing you talk. So, I created this site and took one step forward by putting up the first post. Whether people read, like, engage, or not, I’m at least making the first move in putting it out there. This is easier said than done, but one step in the right direction will usually lead you to the next step in your journey.


Write hand-written thank you cards and notes.

My best friend Jen has always done this…not only does she write them but she gets them out quick! My sister Audrey also does this by writing long notes to me at holidays or sending randomly in the mail. You could say they are my inspiration for this tip. I think this is so much more beneficial and meaningful than a quick text or email, especially when they are truly warranted. I already can’t wait to get my gold glitter holiday notes out *spoiler alert*. You never know what this could do for someone’s day. This tip can be used both personally and professionally, and can go a long way.

Love Park, Philadelphia

Take Words and Actions with a “grain of salt.”

I use this saying ALL the time at work. Think about how often you say something and it comes out wrong, or you didn’t mean it. Well, surprise, surprise, but that happens to everyone. Don’t always take what people say at face value…if it sounds off to you, re-evaluate at another time, or clarify with them. Tomorrow is another day. How people act or speak is often a reflection of them and has nothing to do with you at all. If you’ve ever lived on the East Coast you’ll probably relate to this one best.

Don’t Compare Yourself 

Last year I think I wrote about not comparing yourself to others via social media…this year it’s ‘don’t compare in real life’, because this is actually what matters. I think we all realize by now that SM isn’t reality. But in real life, this is a hard one. Yes, someone is always going to have a larger home than you, or go on more vacations, or have the cutest family ever, and you’ll wonder how they do it, but remember everyone has their struggles. Focus on your life, and doing the best you can.

Times Square, NYC

Now that Thanksgiving is behind us, we are only 1 month out from 2016. I decided to post this a bit before the end of the year for a simple reason. Recently, I was listening to The Smart Passive Income Podcast – Episode 93 titled “How to Make Next Year the Best Year Ever “ with Michael Hyatt, in order to get some life #inspo. Hyatts’s #1 tip was to plan ahead. If you start   thinking about the next year on January 1st, 2016, how are you able to reflect & prepare? It’s like when people want to go on a diet and they keep saying I’ll start on Monday, or I’ll start after this certain event. There’s always going to be another weekend or party to get past. I might be a little biased on the idea of preparation, as I’m currently in the process of planning the rest of my life, basically…I just had to set up additional life insurance and dependent care, which was certainly a first. Turns out having a little guy will do that to ya.

Nashville, TN

The hope is that we would go into January knowing what we want, how we want to feel because of our choices, and how you are going to try your damnedest to achieve it. What are your 7 “lessons” that will help you resolve to have a great 2016? I encourage you to reflect back on 2015 in somewhat of a mental recap in order to help figure this out. Everyone’s  “lessons” will be different as they are specific to what you’ve experienced over the past 12 months. Maybe I’m the only weirdo that likes thinking about this and making these type of lists. Either way, it’s ‘go time.’ Feel free to comment below and LMK what #1 is for you, for 2016.

Thanks everyone for reading, I appreciate you all 💕




  1. Jude

    I like what you said about opportunities coming your way that you didn’t plan for. I especially like how you said that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plan. You should plan. But, feel bad that you didn’t follow your plans to a “T” because the unexpected opportunity might be better than your plan.

    I also wanted to let you know that many of my friends made a point to mention the very nice thank you cards they received from you after your baby shower. Your comments are right on point in hand writing thank you notes. These notes changed everyone’s impression of you…for the better. That’s always good.


    1. Kayla Marie

      Jude, thanks so much for reading! If there’s one thing we’ve discovered this year, it’s that life takes you where it wants to, mostly unexpectedly. I’m glad everyone received their thank yous, I enjoyed writing them! I know how much I enjoy getting handwritten notes, so I love giving them as well. Please let me know what you think of future posts! ❤️


  2. Hannah Ulrich


    Thank you so much for sharing this post! The specific lessons that really stuck with me were “if you can’t stop thinking about something, you should do it” and “write hand-written thank you cards and notes.” For a while now, I have been wanting to put a bigger effort toward reaching out to people I am thankful for, and your post was the little kick in the booty I needed 🙂 So I guess I am starting with this comment. I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts so far and am inspired by your drive to better yourself and your willingness to take risks like this. Although I’m not growing a human being inside of me and don’t have nice, long hair that can do lots of pretty things like yours, I have still taken a lot from the thoughts and reflections you’ve shared, like slowing down and taking life one step at a time 🙂

    I cannot wait to see you, Craig, and your little guy in a few weeks!

    Love you!!


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kayla Marie

      Hannah! I’m so glad you are reading and that you can relate to this …I know you’ve had some big changes this year –leaving your job, moving away for the first time, so I know how you’re feeling and how much it changes you 🙂 This feedback means so much to me. Christmas will be here before we know it! So glad we can get together ❤️love you!


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