It freaks me OUT that a year ago today I started my professional journey in Las Vegas. So many emotions I felt that day. Would they like me? Would I like them? Do they like pizza? This was the biggest risk I had ever taken and here I was ready to take on this new and exciting challenge in my life.

For a quick refresher…before being hired at Kirvin Doak I was literally working at a daycare center. That’s right, cleaning up poop, chasing kids off the play mountain when it was movie time and dancing to Frozen everyday. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Life was confusing, stressful and plain scary because I could not get a job in my field for anything. There I was with an entire college degree sleeping on a blow up bed in my mother’s living room and wondering where the heck life was trying to take me.

It’s been a long road and I know I have SO much more to learn and discover but getting the call that I was hired was one of the best days of my life. If you’re feeling discouraged in a job search or just life in general I want to present you with 5 Lessons I Learned This Year (and a few pics from the year):

Surrender – This is the most important and difficult lesson that I have to keep learning over and over. When we try to force things into our perfect little life plans they NEVER work. I often feel like God is actually up in the skies, sipping on a mimosa and laughing that we try to do things our way. Right before I got the interview at KDC I made up in my mind that I was letting go of the stress and anxiety of figuring my future out. Throughout this year I have had to do this through my dreams and everything I try to do my way. Once you accept that things may not be on your time but be ON time…you will succeed.


(Our Grand Canyon stop right before we made it to LV – a 24 hour drive)

Be Faithful Over Few – This was also a difficult lesson for me. I remember times I was so angry because I couldn’t understand why I was in the situation I was in but I began to be thankful for the small things. I would go to that daycare with my head high and be the best little teacher I could, making sure I was taking care of the kids like my own. Even moving to Vegas, I am learning to give each day at work (I’ve struggled with this BIG time) my all to show that I can handle even more in my life. So don’t be discouraged where you are at even if you hate it right now. Work that ish and own it so that you can be elevated.


(My first in-studio at a news station for a client)

Trust Me, You Have Time – I was the QUEEN of I don’t have time. I don’t have time to exercise, I don’t have time to read and I surely don’t have time to work on my dreams. If you’re telling yourself that right now you’re doing yourself a disservice. When I finally moved into my own place I was tired of eating junk and feeling guilty. I was tired of looking in the mirror and eyes shooting straight to my gut. I started the process of eating better and working out and with commitment and a lot of cheat days (the pizza gets me every time. Ya’ll know I love pizza) I lost 15 pounds…while working two jobs. Wait, TWO?! Adulting is pretty hard so I got a side job to help me. Old Laina would have NEVERR made time to work on myself with two jobs but this new Laina is  pretty insane. Being the best you can be is work and it’s hard but if you want that thing bad enough you will find time. Maybe start with getting off the Snap! haha


(At job #2. I finally quit lol)


(I honestly just put this in here because it’s a GIF and we’re tight)

Don’t Betray Yourself – Okay so we know that Vegas has the label of “Sin City” and I honestly was super nervous about that when I moved here. Would I be able to keep my morals?  Would I become a stripper those dirty men on the street advertise about? Would I survive without my #1 combo from Chick-Fil-A with Chick-Fil-A sauce? I had legit worries here. But I found out that staying true to myself was the best thing I could have ever done. I think I did a pretty darn good job of not following what was the standard in the city but still enjoying all the amazing things it has to offer. Wherever you go and whatever you do, don’t betray yourself. Don’t become someone that you don’t even recognize to please your friends, your boyfriend/girlfriend or even your parents. Do you and do it well.


(Dining at the opening of Carbone Las Vegas aka AHfreakinMAZING)


(One of the few nights I hit the town because I’m a grandma)

Live Life, Take Risks, Celebrate Yourself – Life is about living it to the fullest and often we talk ourselves out of big goals or dreams because we are scared or are driven by what people think of us. Besides moving across country by myself, I have done amazing and risky things like climbing mountains, traveling to LA on a solo trip, see J.Lo slay every edge on my head and dancing on stage with THE Tyson Bae Beckford. When I stress myself out about my future or not being where I want to be I look back on the incredible experiences I have had and it helps me to let go and just live. Think back to an accomplishment you thought you could never do but you did it. Not your mom, not the haters but YOU. You are so great and powerful, more than you even know. If you push through the fears and take risks you will be so surprised at where your journey will turn.

red rock

(Right after I rock climbed up Red Rock Canyon)

It’s been a great year of challenges and growth for me. I’ve cried, been confused, been lonely but I truly believe God opened this door to show me that I could do anything I set my mind to. And so can you.


Thank you to everyone in Las Vegas that has made my year incredible. Love you guys!