How I Made my #LifeGoals a Reality


Every now and then, I will see girls tagging their friends in my photos and say #lifegoals.

It’s funny reading the I wish this was my life comments, because everything I have accomplished and built is completely attainable by anyone. Sometimes I wish I could just scream it through my phone.

I was always the day dreamer looking out the window, I never knew exactly where my life would take me but I knew that I wanted to build it myself. Ever since a very young age I was completely enamored with creating. It could be arts, crafts, or school projects; I just loved being the architect watching my visions come to life and this passion carried over into adulthood. I’ve never worked a 9 to 5 and have always been my own boss and on my own terms, from working as a photo-retoucher, to an internationally-published photographer, and now a blogger living in my dream city. What I’ll decide to dabble in next is a mystery but I’m confident in my passion to learn, explore, and turn it into a living. The last thing I want to do is write a vanity piece on myself *cringe* but so much of my audience is at that pivotal crossroad stage of life, I am hoping that with this post, I can help inspire and provide some guidance.


Let’s face it, everyone wants to be a blogger these days but not everyone has a tech-saavy-photographer-boyfriend or a dream team behind them like a lot of these A-list bloggers do. I always moan that I wish I had the same resources as the girls that I look up to – but the fact is that I don’t. The up-side is that there is such a full sense of satisfaction with every accomplishment, deal-closed, and successful project in the books when it is all done on your own from start to finish. I do hope to have a dream team behind me one day, but I’m proud to say that in the mean time… I got it handled. :)

Today I am sharing with you the genesis of my story. No, it wasn’t a makeup class, or sitting in on a blogging seminar.. it was my 7th grade computer class. Yes, a general middle school class that I attended a couple days a week for a quarter of the school year was the catalyst for everything to come over the next 17 years & hopefully the rest of professional life.

The Journey to the Dream

Occasionally, you will hear people say that “finding out what you want is the hardest part”. I respectfully disagree. Finding out what you want is easy compared to building out the roadmap to get to that goal. The core building blocks of that roadmap, in my humble opinion, will always come down to hard work and education. I use the term education broadly, it isn’t so black or white, not literally a business degree or a computer science degree. Knowledge is something we should all continuously be striving for, stay thirsty my friends. You might be wondering how this middle school computer class was the inception for Irene Mahmud the photographer (maiden name) or irenesarah the blogger. It was my door to a vast labyrinth of creative outlets where I could get lost forever.

We spent the last few weeks of the school year in 1999 learning basic HTML and creating our own Geocities websites. I had to use a fake birthdate because the minimum age to open an account was 13, ha! After these few short weeks, I became obsessed. I spent my summer vacation teaching myself more HTML as well as basic JavaScript and CSS and began running my first “site” – today it would be called a blog but this was a time long before social media. I wanted my site to be pretty so I got myself a copy of Photoshop 5.5 and taught myself how to use it. These hobbies kept me busy for years and I was thirsty to learn more and explore throughout highschool and college. I registered for all kinds of different classes: Cisco networking, computer programming, computer science, graphic/web design.. the list goes on and on. None of these fully stuck with me but I truly believe that education is never a waste, you never know when something you’ve learned in a “pointless” class will have an application in the real world. Fast forward to college, I was able to quit working part-time receptionist jobs because a few photographers would regularly hire me to retouch their photos. I was able to work out of my dorm room at any time of the day. From there I got cocky thinking “I could shoot these better”, splurged on some equipment, quickly became an established photographer in Detroit’s industry, and got the keys to my own studio while I was still in college. What does coding have to do with being a glamour photographer? Directly and literally.. nothing at all. But in the grand scheme of things.. absolutely everything

At 12 years old, I was able to pick up tangible digital skills that allowed me to continue my education on my own. I am still a novice at best but having a basic understanding and foundation allowed me to feel comfortable with the digital world, it allowed me to be self reliant – never depending on developers or web designers to market myself as a photographer or now.. a blogger. I never had to submit support tickets when my website or blog had a glitch, and I never had to cringe at my blog layout wishing I could find someone to revamp it for me. Anything my indecisive, creative, fickle brain wanted.. I delivered.

Institute of Code

Lately, I’ve been thinking about my blog and I realized that as self-reliant as I see myself sometimes.. where would I be without a platform like WordPress? Reality set in. I’ve fallen behind and I am dependent on a third party. If I had to build my blog again from scratch, I wouldn’t be able to. I just don’t have the technical skills to pull it off anymore and the web has changed so much in the past two decades. Then I stumbled across an incredible coding program called Institute of Code. It is a 10-day class in the most beautiful of locations (Bali, Indonesia & Sayulita, Mexico) – talk about #TravelGoals & being a #GirlBoss at the same *clap* damn *clap* time! I have my fingers way way crossed to attend their retreat in Bali next month and have been chatting with one of the founders, Tina. The entire program gets me super giddy and excited. It’s like falling in love all over again lol!

Let me tell you why this program resonates with me so much, and why I think we all need to go. My parents shamed me my entire life for not studying enough or for having too much fun. To them, studies weren’t supposed to be fun and fun was only reserved for summer vacation — when they weren’t shoving SAT books down our throats of course. Institute of Code is a rebel against the philosophy that education has to be a difficult, unenjoyable struggle. In her own words, Tina’s explanation is — “We believe that when people are motivated and inspired, when they have all of their needs catered for and when you remove all the messy distractions of life in creates an environment of accelerated learning”

I’ll be completely honest, I was never a great student. I learn extremely fast and my test scores were great, but my day to day studying and homework were no bueno. My parents made it such a miserable time that the last thing I ever wanted to do was.. it. My creative passions were never nurtured, and I wasn’t allowed to do them. My mom would say that I could only draw during summer vacation or that I could hang out with my friends and have fun “when you’re a doctor”. Luckily, my dad was excited and supportive about my interest in computers and design, he was able to see that I was developing a very valuable skill-set. I love that this program takes the philosophy I try to share with you about life, and create a learning experience based on that. To make a 10-day coding course not only enjoyable but.. heavenly! Bali is a place on most of our bucket-lists, a once in a lifetime type of place. To be able to escape the stress of everyday life and experience Bali, while also leaving with a skill-set so valuable during the digital age is priceless.

I know that a large part of my audience is South Asian, like myself, with very similar pressures and expectations. I get messages regularly from girls desperate to chase a dream outside of medicine, law, or engineering but don’t know how to get their families on board to support a creative path like the one I’ve taken. First, I think it’s so important to know exactly what you are looking to pursue so you can solidify the steps behind it. If your end goal is to have a million followers and be famous just because you’re pretty, this is not for you. If you are passionate about learning, creating, and are open to the different paths coding can take you.. let’s keep talking. :)

The Future is Digital

Everyone will be interacting with the digital world or will be reliant on developers that do. Graphic designers, entrepreneurs, bloggers, marketers, every path can be enhanced and accelerated with the right skills; and in this time.. these skills are coding.

“We don’t teach people maths so that they can become a mathematician, we teach it because it’s a life skill that is woven through a variety of different industries. Understanding coding fundamentals can, be an extra tool in the ‘toolbelt’ of anyone who is interacting with the digital world.” – Tina May, Co-Founder of Institute of Code

Throughout highschool and my college gen-ed classes I always bitched that everything we were learning was pointless. Teachers would preach about building a foundation, starting on the shallow end of the pool, understanding the basics of something before jumping into the advanced stuff. I hated doing long division, I hated grammar classes, and I hated being the only one in gym class that had to wear a life jacket for water polo while coach called me a fruitcake all year, ugh!! But in the end, those foundations prepared me to do so much more. In many ways, life is just like that: You do what you need to do, before doing what you want to do. Institute of Code, for me, marries the two. The best part?? This is something our parents could actually get behind because it is a tangible, actionable item that can lead you down several different roads of success. Your goal isn’t to be famous, or get mad likes, your goal is to be independently successful. Be a girl boss, not a sponsorette.

Front-end web development is constantly changing and my formal education ended in 1999, so my knowledge is still at absolute infancy. I can navigate a page of code and figure out what I need to change and how.. but from scratch? Not in this day and age of responsive websites. I can say that I need a class like Institute of Code‘s 10 day intensive… but I’m geeky enough to want it also.

Never Stop Learning

This notion that you can’t learn anything new after a certain age is such a self fulfilling prophecy. What rule states that because you are in your 20s, 30s, or 40s – you no longer qualify to start anything new? It is now easier than ever before to learn, and there are literally no rules to how you learn. Your brain is like a muscle and needs to be exercised regularly. If I can do that in Bali with chef prepared meals, daily yoga, and meditation.. hello, sign me up!

Adults will often marvel at the speed at which children learn & pick up things. While a lot of that has to do with a child’s brain development, I always wondered why it’s acceptable for adults to just stop learning after a certain age. The world continues to evolve and change, why don’t we as adults do the same?

institute-of-code-3 institute-of-code-2 institute-of-code

Btw this isn’t a paid conversation, women in tech and creative fields is something I’m extremely passionate about and all of this is coming from a very very real place. I came across Institute of Code and really did fall right in love. I especially love that 80% of their students are women (go girls!!) and I hope I get to attend next month! This is nothing like the geeky computer science course you might have seen on TV. Their campus is a luxury pool villa and after the “school day” (8am – 3pm) they take you out to explore the local culture and swim under waterfalls. That’s my kind of recess! Some people might see all this as unnecessary fluff and think that in order to learn something new we must be crammed in a classroom for 12 hours; I believe that they do not understand the psychology behind education. I don’t want to feel pressured and memorize words, I want to feel free and inspired. I want ah ha! moments.

I’d love to get to know you girls better! In the comment section below, tell me something about your goals and what you feel is first step to achieving it! Let’s talk and inspire each other!



  1. Johna Doe
    May 27, 2016 / 1:09 am

    Thank you for this.

    • May 27, 2016 / 1:10 am

      How on earth did you read this so fast?!?!?! lol!!! THANK YOU!

      • Neslia
        September 11, 2017 / 7:57 pm

        Irene who knows if you will ever maybe see this comment !! But you truly really are an inspiration.

        reading the things you post and seeing the amazing photos if it be the travel ones or from your tutorials its just simply amazing and I’m in absolute awww love it your an inspiration to many girls and inshallah will be to your little girl as well

    • Mehru
      May 27, 2016 / 1:12 pm

      I want to do something in the food industry. Creative chef, fusion cooking . I have stopped writing on my blog but this inspired me so much. I am your fan. You are my favourite blogger and youtuber.

    • Samiya Hossain
      May 28, 2016 / 2:30 pm

      This is an amazing blog. You are such an inspiration me as an American Bangladeshi. My goals are to earn more experience as a freelance makeup artist and to create my own cosmetics line and hopefully later in the future own a beauty salon! My family aren’t very supportive of it and it’s hard to strive for my passion when they discourage how I won’t ve successful in this field. It’s heartbreaking. It also sucks trying to get college over with in a major I don’t have a passion for and then people tells me I wilk live in poverty with just a Bachelor’s degree. I just want to achieve my dreams and become successful in it. Inshallah, I will stay strong and consistent with my passion like you and become successful!

  2. Zara
    May 27, 2016 / 1:19 am

    Love love loveeee this! It’s so inspiring to read your story! I’m going to be graduating from college soon and I’m stuck at that point where I don’t really know what I want to do but I do want to pursue my creative interests and study up on photoshop and other programs like you mentioned! I loved this post and respect you for putting yourself out there in a vulnerable way!

    • May 27, 2016 / 1:21 am

      Thank you Zara!!! Congrats on graduating soon and good luck with everything! xo

      • Zara
        May 27, 2016 / 8:32 am

        Thank you!!

  3. May 27, 2016 / 1:23 am

    It was like you was talking too me or as though you were voicing my thoughts to the whole world for me! Loved every word. Your labyrinth of codes is a lair we all need to take a step inside!

    I wouldn’t say I’m a blogger, I like to make myself sound cool and call myself a writer! I create, edit, promote, market it all myself. Like my baby, it’s my kingdom!

    Massive inspiration, thank you for posting!

    Love Always!

  4. Ummey
    May 27, 2016 / 1:26 am

    This was inspirational and amazing.

  5. Lisa
    May 27, 2016 / 1:41 am

    Just what I needed ! ❤️

  6. Aaminah Khan
    May 27, 2016 / 1:49 am

    Wow Irene, thank you for sharing your story. I haven’t found someone who I can relate to on the internet as much as you. I just finished my first year of university and I’m upgrading some courses that I didn’t take in high school to take the uni level. Funny enough, I am interested in the medical field and inshallah am hoping for that to blossom into my career. Im proud becuase it was a career I chose on my own! Thank god my parents were different than anyone in my family and they let me choose my career ! Maybe becuase my mom grew up in Canada lol. However, in highschool I absolutely fell in love with photography (which is how I found your Miss America photographs and your other blog) Right now, I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place between my two passions. I’m thinking of pursuing photography as a job while I am in school. What would you recommend be the basics in how to become a phtographer in the digital age? Thank You again Irene! (Btw- listening to Waseems new song while writing this- tell him I LOVE IT-lol)

  7. Fatima
    May 27, 2016 / 2:12 am

    This was truly inspiring! Much love from Northern California!! ❤️

  8. H
    May 27, 2016 / 4:16 am

    I have been lowkey following your work since pre-Rima Fakih and honestly you are such an inspiration for S Asian girls growing up such as myself, so I wanted to thank you for that. Keep doing you and I hope you keep growing and learning and continue to become a more beautiful person than you already are. All the love

  9. Raagave Ponnusamy
    May 27, 2016 / 4:25 am

    I’m an engineering student which means I need to take coding classes. Although I like learning coding, I often feel pressured to keep up with the class, but reality is I like going at my own pace and actually enjoy what I learning instead of having to learn it in a certain period of time. After reading this blog, it got me super inspired to live my dreams and actually find pleasure in the things I do. Thank you Irene<3 Love from Canada!!

  10. May 27, 2016 / 6:20 am

    Great post! I learned html/css on my own when I first started blogging. It took so much time, but I am grateful that I did learn ^_^

    Laila from Townhouse Palette

  11. May 27, 2016 / 6:23 am

    I’ve always been motivated with my blog, youtube channel and social media platforms but this just gave me that little boost that I needed. Thanks for sharing, love reading these types of posts from you! <3

  12. A
    May 27, 2016 / 6:46 am

    Hi Irene, thank you for this post. I’m actually struggling with this right now. I’ve started my own business, doing something I’ve always wanted to do. It’s still in the starter stages but the main part is that I am utterly excited about my work and know that if I continue working hard that one day it will pay off. The problem is that my parents are least bit thrilled. My mom especially wants me to go back to University and even though I told her I have no idea what degree I want/am good at, she won’t stop pestering me. I’m not ready to give up on something I just started to do something that never made sense to me, but I don’t want to dissapoint my mom… How did you overcome this? You mentioned that your parents wanted you to pursue other things, how did you pull through? I guess I’m asking how can I do the same because every time my mom starts lecturing me I get more and more discouraged.

  13. Tatjana
    May 27, 2016 / 6:50 am

    You were the first beauty blogger I ever followed. I started wearing make up because of you. I start a blog but haven’t done much with it because I am afraid of negative feedback. I guess my first step would be to try and overcome my social anxiety and be brave.

  14. May 27, 2016 / 7:22 am

    I have been following you for years, and I really appreciate this post coming from someone in the IT field themselves.

    Thank you for this!

  15. Manju
    May 27, 2016 / 7:40 am

    talk about #TravelGoals & being a #GirlBoss at the same *clap* damn *clap* time!

    My favorite part! haha. You’re an inspiration. Thank you for being vulnerable since it’s one of the key factors to impacting lives. There’s been many times that I’ve wrote something and deleted it out of fear of vulnerability. This was an awesome post and a valuable learning lesson.

  16. Aisha
    May 27, 2016 / 8:04 am

    Ahh! This post was amazing – I’m in some what of a similar boat – I graduated from college almost 9 yrs ago (GD how did I get so old!) I majored in graphic design and I used to always be creating or coding (xanga was my jam – again, OLD) but since working FT my coding/tech skills are so out of date. There’s nothing like that feeling of accomplishment when you create something that’s 100% you – sadly something you miss out on when working 9/5 in a cart corporate setting! Institute of Code sounds like a dream – can’t wait to read up on it, thank you for sharing!!

  17. Mariam S.
    May 27, 2016 / 8:16 am

    Yay for breaking barriers and pursuing your dreams! You are going to loveee Bali!

  18. May 27, 2016 / 8:24 am

    Hi Irene, thank you for sharing such a great story! Being from an IT background myself I couldn’t agree more with how valuable tech skills are when creating a platform for yourself.

  19. Farheen
    May 27, 2016 / 9:25 am

    Your timing is absolutely perfect!!! I just recently started my makeup page on Instagram @glambyfarheen I’m a college student with a degree in health sciences on the Pre-PA track but also a hugee makeup and glam girl who loves to doll everyone up and I thought I should take a step forward with what I’m truly passionate about. My parents love when I get girls ready for prom, they’ve been forcing me to get a makeup certification lol. But I live in a small college town, and everything is online… (Bummer!!) You’re so sweet girl, and such an inspiration!! I’m working towards my dream of being a full time makeup artist one step at a time. Thank you so much for the article, love!!

  20. Roshani
    May 27, 2016 / 9:59 am

    I needed to hear this, Irene! I’m currently a marketing major but all I really want to do is move out to Cali and work in the entertainment industry. I want to film documentaries and create television shows. I’m always arguing with myself whether or not I want to play it safe in the corporate world of investment banking and consulting or really chase after my dreams. I guess I’m scared that I might fail.

  21. May 27, 2016 / 10:11 am

    Ugh gf you’re amazing! Seriously may you always be protected and be blessed with the best of both worlds! You took the words out of my mouth. “You don’t need to be crammed in a room for 12 hrs to learn and knowledge doesn’t stop with age.” Hence why I fall under the homeschooling path for my kids. Love you for always being you and inspiring beyond words! 😘😘😘

  22. May 27, 2016 / 11:17 am

    Love it Irene! Thank u for this inspiring post! 💋💋

  23. May 27, 2016 / 11:25 am

    Thank you for sharing! Good notes for those (like me) who have been in the game for so long but still struggling!!

  24. Nadia
    May 27, 2016 / 11:26 am

    My passion has always been makeup and beauty. More so makeup. I grew up playing with my moms makeup and now I have a huge vanity of my own filled with makeup in a separate room in my house. My ultimate goal is to be able to work hand in hand with a makeup company I ADORE and create a product with them. But before all that, I want to share my passion of makeup with the world via blogging and youtube. But being a Desi and living in such a Desi filled community, most look down at Desi girls who put themselves out there on the internet. I’m afraid I’ll be talked bad about behind my back if I create my own YouTube channel, and afraid that most my hate will be from the people around me.

  25. Viki Ulaj
    May 27, 2016 / 11:42 am

    Wow this was very inspirational! I’ve always wanted to do photography, since I was in high school. And speaking of hs, you took my senior pictures for me! (Year 2011) And I’ll always remember that day bc you complimented me on my makeup (I did it myself so It meant a lot coming from you!) I’ve been following you on social media since then and to see how much you’ve learned and expanded makes me so proud. Your doing things I’ve felt passionate about; photography and makeup. So to see you flourish in that makes me so happy!

  26. Sharuba
    May 27, 2016 / 12:14 pm

    Hey Irene! Love how honest you were in this post! I’m going to school right now for HR. But my dream is to be an established Makeup Artist. I’ve been freelancing on my own for the past four years and aH have been given many platforms to showcase my work. iA one day I’d love to open up my own bridal salon and run my own business. (Have some time to go. I’m only 21!) I’m starting beauty school and finishing my undergrad starting in August! Your post just reminded me that I need to WORK for it. And that it’s not gonna happen overnight. Thank you for your inspiring words! Feeling better about keeping myself busy and not seeing result immediately. My time will come.. :)

  27. Sharuba
    May 27, 2016 / 12:16 pm

    Hey Irene! Love how honest you were in this post! I’m going to school right now for HR. But my dream is to be an established Makeup Artist. I’ve been freelancing on my own for the past four years and aH have been given many platforms to showcase my work. iA one day I’d love to open up a bridal salon and run my own business. (Have some time to go. I’m only 21!) I’m starting beauty school and finishing my undergrad starting in August! Your post just reminded me that I need to WORK for it. And that it’s not gonna happen overnight. Thank you for your inspiring words! Feeling better about keeping myself busy and not seeing result immediately. My time will come.. :)

  28. May 27, 2016 / 12:27 pm

    Wow Irene! This post completely resonates with me.. I started my YouTube channel last year but i then decided that I would get the final year of my degree out of the way. I felt that I should stick to what I made a commitment to. But now, having just completed my final year and being in such a low place because of my degree, I know more than ever that I want to succeed in something that I have created and built myself. As someone who could barely use excel without freaking out, I’m now so proud that I’m learning how to film and use all of the software and equipment and you’re so right! At the end of your piece, you’re so proud because you made it yourself.. Inshallah one day I will be in a place similar to yours and thank you for this post, it has given me hope and motivation to continue on this journey I have chosen <3

  29. zoe m
    May 27, 2016 / 1:58 pm

    This post almost made me cry, I see myself reflected in so much of what you said here even down to what you wrote about your dad being so supportive and excited, it’s me written all over it. You’re proving females can be both gorgeous and smart in this age of social media and technology as young women, like me, who see so much of themselves in your journey and are looking up to successful beautiful women like YOU who are paving the way for us especially as we’re growing up on the internet and teaching ourselves how to write websites and apps while watching the beauty industry change right in front our eyes and in the palm of our hand, and it’s amazing. Thank you

  30. May 27, 2016 / 2:01 pm

    This was so motivational! You speak with such wisdom. I recently started my own blog and I’m excited to see where it takes me. My ultimate dream is to work in non-profit, regarding human rights! I’ve always wanted to be a lawyer, but I found that I was much better at developing content that informs people and sparks change online, because as you stated ‘the future is digital’. Great post, Irene!

  31. Jasmine
    May 27, 2016 / 2:53 pm

    Irene, you are an inspiration! I love love love this. Sometimes being stuck in the 9-5, I feel stuck in life. Knowing and seeing that there is so much beyond that is that little light or silver lining! Love love love this and youuuuu!

  32. Sharmin
    May 27, 2016 / 3:16 pm

    You’re amazing. I just recently transitioned from accounting ot IT and I’m in my mid twenties. As you said, it’s never too late! I’m continuously impressed with your multivariate qualities. Keep shining!

  33. Raveena Arora
    May 27, 2016 / 5:12 pm

    Hi Irene, I have always admired you & was one of the people that asked about your journey. So happy that you were able to share your love and passion with us. I am definitely considering attending Institute of Code, I feel I needed something like this. Hope to see you there!

  34. Simran Manhas
    May 27, 2016 / 6:25 pm

    I love your blogs! Whatever you do is so inspirational. :) Even though I want to be a doctor and currently preparing for MCAT aha! My parents used to be the same, but I am so happy that they have changed their way of thinking. They even tell me to enjoy what I am doing and follow my dreams (which is kind of unusual in Indian families lol) Anyways, you are awesome! 💕

  35. May 27, 2016 / 6:43 pm

    This was so needed! I recently finished my photography degree and will graduate in July, but the whole classroom and strict deadline environment made me fall out of love with the creative process and I’m only now starting to enjoy it again! Being South Asian and the odd one out in terms of career choice sort of motivates me to want to do the best I can for myself. Ironically enough I’m still digitally challenged when it comes to things like major editing and coding lol but I guess I let the creative block I was in really get to me. I love your travel posts and how you take so much time to perfect your blog layout and YouTube videos, it’s truly inspiring can’t wait for more!

  36. Ana
    May 27, 2016 / 10:09 pm

    I absolutely loved reading this! Thank you so much for sharing this with your followers. Just like you, I’ve had a passion for technology/web developing and am currently finishing up my tech degree! Throughout my college career I developed a passion for makeup and decided to make this hobby into a career. I’ve been following you for a long time and it’s so inspiring to see what you have achieved. For me, it’s even more inspiring because you’re a Michigander and I’m from Michigan as well. Cheers to doing great things ahead, Irene. Wish you nothing but the best!

  37. Simamima
    May 28, 2016 / 10:22 pm

    Hi Irene,

    I really feel like this is something ALL Indian girls need to read hahaha… We all come from the same background, where being a doctor or lawyer is the PERFECT life for us. I know two sides to this though. Someone I know had to sacrifice their entire youth for that doctor dream, and on the other hand there are people like us who try our best to be creative. In the end, that doctor will be obviously richer, and living a luxurious life, but I feel like it will just be covered in student loans. I really truly do believe in what you say because I come from the same place and I would rather create something for myself and I do not want to work underneath anyone. My goal is to become something I can be proud of, and eventually my parents can accept me for it. Right now, my mother is on my side but thinks I’m gonna drop out of high school for it *inserts rolling eye emoji*. Thank you so much for this. (:

    • May 28, 2016 / 10:53 pm

      I do not agree about richer, but there isn’t a clear cut end result in this world… you gotta put in WORK!

  38. Eman
    May 30, 2016 / 10:06 pm

    This was so inspiring to us Irene, thank you for taking the time to write this! I always adored your photography btw <3 I'm an old fan from the D! (: Love your channel and always looking forward to your future projects!

  39. Amina
    May 31, 2016 / 3:43 pm

    First I want to say how freakin beautiful you are ma sha Allah ma sha Allah. Not only on the outside but most certainly you are such an amazing person. I’m going to be honest before I started following you I’d see random Instagram posts and for some really (horrible and judgmental) reason I thought you were stuck up. But I started following and reading your posts and especially added you on snapchat. And I cannot believe I ever thought that about you. You are such an inspiration not just for me but to sooo many people. I’m a young mom and I have created a blog but I never find the passion or idea to write. I love that you are so creative and made this bomb ass website and such beautiful videos. I really hope you find much success and have a wonderful future you deserve it. Also when I found out you’re also from Detroit I was like Ohhh snapppp homegirl is doing it right. Lol idek if you’ll read this and Im starting to get weird so much love Salam

    • May 31, 2016 / 3:48 pm

      “I’m starting to get weird” CRACKED ME UP! lolol!! Thank you so much Amina, this is so sweet of you & I am so happy you were able to give me a chance even though you had a different impression of me at first. We are judgmental by nature I can’t fault you for that but I can commend you for being open minded enough to look past first impressions. Thank you dearly!

      Share your blog, don’t be a stranger my fellow Michigander!

  40. Karolina
    May 31, 2016 / 9:36 pm

    I’m so glad yo posted this. I read it when you first posted it and decided to read it again while sitting in the airport waiting for my flight back home after an amazing trip. I have always wanted to blog and travel – not just to the “big cities” but to those random, one-off places no one ever hears about to really explore the world, eat new foods, meet new people, learn about humans and how each of us interpret this same earth. I haven’t seen a lot of women blogging or hosting shows in remote places and I really want to change that. I used to talk to my ex about learning how to code (he picked it up so fast and I thought he would be a great asset in my own education) but he just made fun of me for wanting to do something like this and said it was pointless. Clearly, he’s an ex for a reason! I am feeling so empowered to pick up all of those books I bought and take a real class! I don’t like the job I have now and am working on moving into a new field that I AM good at and do enjoy but I’m definitely making actual, solid time to learn coding and photoshop so I can stop saying I’m working on my passion and start saying my passion is my “work.”

  41. June 3, 2016 / 6:57 pm

    Oh wow I needed this! I have always loved being an artist, but of course, was steered clear away from that dream by my parents! I love to write and I want to write for travel books one day. I started a blog now so I can practice. Coding seems so daunting, I was never really interested in tech but I know it’s important. I am inspired now to try again!

  42. June 4, 2016 / 2:10 pm

    Always love watching your You Tube videos and reading your blogs!

    Came across this post only today! You took me right back to when I first discovered you – sat at my design job which was leading now where after 7 years of service :/
    I remember watching bloggers like yourself who inspired me to push my part time business into a full time job. The digital world gave me such a wide connection to the world and what others were doing that I immediately mapped out a plan for my future and handed in my notice without fearing where it would lead me. The excitement of being my own boss for my brand Pretty Heritage has not only given me confidence but constant education and learning every day.

    I love how my progress has also inspired friends and family and I love watching women like yourself who inspire me even now to keep pushing myself towards bigger dreams to inspire women globally!

    Keep up you amazing work….. Love your spirit!

    💗 xx
    Monita – London

  43. Asia
    June 5, 2016 / 10:10 am

    i really needed this. thank you. to the future.

  44. June 14, 2017 / 5:48 pm

    Hey Irene,

    Thank you so much for your blog. I have been following you now on every single platform but twitter because I just don’t use it. I want to start blogging, there is so much I could talk about, especially being a new mommy. I remember trying to find answers for my questions online. Problem is, I just don’t think it’ll attract many people. Every time I want to start, I get to starting my website for my blog and I just back out last minute. Any words of advice?

    Good day love,


  45. D
    August 19, 2017 / 7:18 pm

    It’s kind of amazing how we all get connected to each other.. I came across your YouTube video two days ago while searching for eye makeup for “big round eyes” 😂 And immediately fell in love with your personality and then saw your husband tag and realised I’ve come across his name before in a Mickey Singh music video. I’m turning 30 in a few weeks and been a practising lawyer for 7 years and counting, while suppressing the desire to actually fully focus on my love for music.. Reading your blog was kind of like the final push I needed. Have been mentally prepping myself to hand in that resignation letter. I’ve decided to take a year out to focus on myself and travel and get a feel for creating my own music. Hope to cross paths with you one day and thank you for being such an inspiration x

  46. Neslia
    September 11, 2017 / 8:04 pm

    Irene you really truly are an inspiration to me and many other girls out there judging from the amazing comments that you have been getting!! your story is great and lets us girls see the light and know that if we have the right mindset and that little bit of hope and support I guess that its all possible hahaha I want to do many things and also blog and right a little be a little creative I guess touch of everything. love your photos on travel make up and everything about LOVE AND BEAUTY YOU HAVE THAT MAGIC TOUCH #GIRLBOSS

    you really are inspiring to me and others and hopefully will show your princess how to be admiring and strong like yourself Mashallah

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