Oregon Trip Part One: Smith Rock and Painted Hills

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Earlier this year I got the most exciting WhatsApp message from my friend Anna Sophie! For those of you who have read my study abroad adventures you would recognize Anna Sophie from London.We met during our study abroad semester at Regent’s University. Anna Sophie is from Germany while I am from Michigan so we haven’t seen each other since 2015.

Anna Sophie’s message said that her and her boyfriend, Jona, were going to be spending three weeks in the USA roadtripping! Brett and I have flight benefits so right away I messaged back saying that we would love to meet them somewhere. We settled on meeting them in Bend, Oregon and then traveling with them to Portland, Oregon in June!

The months flew by and when June rolled around I couldn’t believe that I was finally going to be reunited with my best friend! Brett and I flew into Bend on Sunday afternoon and expected to meet Anna Sophie and Jona on Monday morning. She called me while Brett and I were at Target to say that they decided to come to Bend that night instead! We were reunited at our Airbnb and started our wonderful new journey together.

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Brett went to Bend last year for a guy’s trip so I kind of knew what to expect. On Monday morning we headed to Smith Rock for a day hike. It was HOT and I was unprepared for just how hard the hike would be. I didn’t expect to be climbing straight up a giant rock when I’m as out of shape as I am. However, we still had a great time together and it was absolutely beautiful!

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I did not make it all the way up Smith Rock that day. In fact, I slipped and fell near the top and ended up scrapping my leg up pretty badly. It’s 2 months later now and my leg still looks pretty gross. Brett and I decided to wait for Anna Sophie and Jona and they made their way up to the top. I was disappointed in myself but sometimes I have to cut myself a little slack. I’m always happy to get out and do things instead of living in fear of another migraine attack.

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After our trek, we headed to Coldstone for some ice cream! Ice cream is my love language. After Coldstone we headed back to the Airbnb and got ready for dinner. Brett and I decided that it would be fun to introduce our German friends to hibachi. We went to a hibachi restaurant in Bend and they ended up loving it! After dinner we went back to the Airbnb, cuddled with our host’s dogs (including a super cute dachshund named Ruby), and played games. One of my favorite memories of Anna Sophie and our trip to visit her family in Germany was playing games together.

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The next day we headed out to the Painted Hills. Brett drove and I navigated but when we got out towards the Painted Hills we lost service. We may have gotten a little lost while we were driving but that was part of the adventure!

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The Painted Hills are amazing! I didn’t really know what to expect other than the google images that I looked up before going. We did a few of the hikes which were nowhere near as exhausting as Smith Rock from the day before.

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After our hike, we headed back into Bend for dinner. We stopped at this place called On Tap that has a outdoor bar and food trucks. We all got food from different trucks and ate by the bar. The food was great and the atmosphere was even better! We tried to teach Anna Sophie cornhole after dinner per Michigan tradition.

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Of course, our night was not complete without ice cream! We went to Bonta Gelato for some delicious dessert! You know a place is good when there’s a line out the door and Bonta did not disappoint.

Brett went to see his friend who lives in Bend after dropping us off at the Airbnb. Anna Sophie and I sat and chatted for the next couple of hours just getting caught up on life. We also had to pack to head to Portland the next morning.

I really enjoyed our time in Bend even though it was super short! We loved our Airbnb, the great food, and just spending quality time with friends who we don’t get to see often enough.

Study abroad was one of the best adventures of my life and I was so sad when it was over. I didn’t know if I’d ever see my friends again and I that was devastating. We’ve all kept in touch over the years but that’s not the same as seeing each other in person. Seeing Anna Sophie again was like being reunited with a piece of my heart. She understands me in a way that a lot of my other friends don’t. Even though we are from different countries and were raised differently she still feels like the friend I’ve always needed and wanted.

Part two of our trip will be posted soon!

Have you ever been to Bend? Do you enjoy hiking?

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Learning How to Say “No”

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I’m a people pleaser and that’s not always a good thing. I hate disappointing people and nothing brings me more joy than helping someone in need. This people pleasing quality gets me in trouble a lot of the time because I make other people happy but don’t have time to chase my own happiness.

I’ve been struggling lately with this because sometimes people take advantage of how caring I am. I get myself in situations where I’m so busy taking care of other people that I don’t take care of myself. I end up exhausted, crying, and swearing that I’ll make a change and start saying “no”.

This weekend we had a family member ask me to do something for her and her family that went way too far. I want to help them but helping them would hurt my mental health in a way that would take too long to recover from. I don’t want to go into details but I had to have a serious conversation with Brett and luckily we both agreed that I had to say no.

Saying no is hard, especially when you love the person and want to help them. But sometimes you have to say no in order to protect yourself from damage. It feels selfish and wrong but it’s needed. I hate disappointing people and I know that this decision will hurt my relationship with the person. But this time I have to put myself first. I have to save myself from something that will damage me.

Taking care of yourself is more than just “self-care Sunday”. Taking care of yourself means protecting your mental health, your energy, and your well-being. It means learning to say “no” to things that will hurt you. Put yourself first, you’re worth it!

Do you have a hard time saying no to people? Any advice on getting over being a people pleaser?

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Photo by Dawid Zawiła on Unsplash

Our Wedding Day: The Details

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In honor of our two year wedding anniversary on August 19th I thought I would share a few posts about our wedding day! First up are all of the little details that made our wedding special.

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I spent two years planning our wedding and I love how everything turned out! I had time to consider every detail and put thought and energy into each and every aspect. Things did not turn out exactly the way I planned them but that’s alright! I’m so happy with the end result!

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First up is my dress which I bought at a cute shop called The White Dress in Brighton, MI. It’s a Stella York dress with amazing lace detail on the shoulder straps and back. We added the sparkly belt to add a bit of bling. I loved my dress!

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My ceremony shoes were from Nordstrom but I can’t find them online anymore. I wore Toms for the reception which was smart because my feet hurt so bad from standing in heels for hours. My cross necklace was a gift from my Grandparents for my confirmation in 2007. I always knew that I wanted to wear it for my wedding! My earrings were a last minute purchase from TJ Maxx.

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Our wedding theme was English Garden because we got engaged in London. We spent our two year engagement going to flea markets, antique shops, and estate sales looking for antique tea cups to use for our centerpieces. The lanterns were from IKEA and my dad made the wood slices and table numbers.

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We had our guests sign a photo mat and had it framed to hang in our house. I love walking past it and reading everyone’s notes. The Bailey sign was made by a family friend for my Bridal shower. Another friend made us the shadow box. My dad wood burned the B and H logs.

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Our head table consisted of fairy lights and our bouquets from the ceremony. My favorite part were these two vintage Bailey’s teacups. My mom found the female cup at an antique store and bought it for me as a gift because Brett’s last name is Bailey. We ended up finding the male cup and completing the set before the wedding! We also have the cream and sugar to go with them.

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Our ceremony and reception were at the same venue. However, there was a short walk from the reception hall to the outdoor chapel where the ceremony was. My dad built this sign for us and my sister painted the letters.

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I wanted a welcome sign for when guests first arrived. I bought the chalkboard at IKEA and had my family friend write the words for us. We still have the chalkboard in our house and it’s really cute!

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My Grandpa has a tradition where he makes the card box for each of his grandchildren’s wedding days. Mine was special because he was the landscape artist who designed our wedding venue so he knew exactly what flowers would match. This is one of my favorite pieces from our wedding day and it sits on our dresser in our bedroom so I can look at it everyday.

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Our flowers were one of my favorite parts of the wedding decor. We got married under Wisteria near a field of wildflowers. I wanted our flowers to look very whimsical and wild. My sister’s bouquet is pictured on the left. I asked that our florist put a sunflower in her bouquet because those are her favorite flower.

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Our cake was made by a local bakery and each layer was a different flavor. I wanted our cake to look simple and then have our florist add the finishing touches. I loved how it turned out and it was delicious! Of course, when it came time to cut the cake I made sure to smash it in Brett’s face. He returned the favor and I laughed so hard my eyes were watering!

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Our wedding venue was beautiful! We got married under an arch of wisteria in the middle of the woods. The venue itself is a summer camp that I attended every summer for over 10 years with my sister and cousin. It’s one of my favorite places in the world and so special to our family!

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Our bridesmaid dresses were from David’s Bridal in the color Wisteria. I don’t believe that this current dress is still available. I liked using David’s Bridal because not all of my bridesmaids lived in our area so they could go to their own local store to buy the dress. It was super convenient!

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This picture of the groomsmen plus Brett is one of my all time favorite wedding photos! They are all so stinking handsome! The tuxedos were from Men’s Warehouse and were easy to order and pickup.

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Our wedding day was just so us. It was simple, colorful, and elegant. We were in one of my favorite places, surrounded by people that we love. I loved all of the little details and cherish the time I put into planning everything.

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I hope this brings you some inspiration if you are planning your own wedding! If you are, remember that your wedding day is only one day of your life while your marriage is everyday for the rest of your life. Your wedding day does not have to be perfect in order for your marriage to be perfect. Don’t stress about the little things and try to enjoy your day!

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The Truth About Closure

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When I was 13 I read the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants book series. Tibby was my favorite character, I even named our cat after her. In the books Tibby wants to be a film director and carries her camera with her everywhere capturing everything she experiences. I was inspired so I asked for a video camera for my 14th birthday.

On my 14th birthday in October 2007 my parents bought me my own video camera. I took the camera pretty much everywhere with me for a year. My goal was to create a video about a year in my life. I filmed sleepovers with friends, after school activities, family events, and every holiday.

I forgot about this video camera until I cleaned out my parent’s basement earlier this year. I brought it home and stored it in our spare bedroom in a box until last week when I got the inspiration to start going through the boxes. I found the camera again and tried to turn it on but it needed a new battery. Amazon delivered the new battery the next day and my 12 year old video camera was back in action!

Going through the videos that I so carefully filmed was extremely hard. Life has changed drastically in the last 12 years and I’m no longer friends with any of the same people. I saw the girl I considered a sister give me a hug, I listened to 14 year old Hayley talk about love like she knew how it felt, I got to see baby videos of my two favorite kids.

At 14 I thought that I had it all figured out. I had the best group of friends who I thought would be with me throughout the rest of my life. I had my dorky little sister, my parents, and my amazing grandparents. I had a future career as a film director and I was going to marry my best friend’s older brother. Everything was going to be okay because I was surrounded with people who loved me more than anything.

I obviously never made the video about a year in my life. The summer before I turned 15 was when everything started to change. One of my best friends was a guy and I think we both always cared about each other a little differently than we cared about our other friends. We started dating that summer that I stopped filming and were together for the next 2ish years.

Seeing this boy that I used to care about in these videos hurt my heart a little bit. Not because I have any feelings left for him but because before watching I couldn’t ever remember being friends with him. Our breakup during our junior year was messy, mostly because I was immature and decided that there was no way we could ever be friends again. I cut him out of my life completely and lost most of my other friends along the way too.

Watching my life from my 14 year old self’s perspective was eye opening. Being brought back to a time before braces fixed my teeth, my acne was not quite under control, and I only wore band t-shirts and converse made me realize that I never quite got closure from this time in my life. This group of friends meant everything to me and I lost them.

I think that 14 year old Hayley would be really proud of me. I know that I’m proud of her.

Getting closure isn’t always about having a conversation or making amends. Sometimes it’s just knowing that it’s okay to leave the past in the past. It’s okay to be sad about what you’ve lost while still appreciating all that you have gained.

I’m thankful that I captured all of these little moments of my life. I wouldn’t have remembered the time my sister and I had a funeral for our goldfish, the way my dog Scooter snored, rocking baby Riley to sleep, or what we talked about at sleepovers.

I’m not quite sure yet what I will do with the 36 hours of videos that I have from 2007-2008 but I’m really glad that I have it.

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Photo by sarandy westfall on Unsplash

 

Five on Friday #12

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Where has the time gone?! I can’t believe it’s already August! I’ve had a crazy couple of weeks and I’m ready for some R&R. Hopefully this weekend will provide lots of time to relax and unwind.

  1. We have picture day at work next week and I am in desperate need of a new outfit. The problem with weight loss is that I have no idea what size I am now so I don’t feel comfortable ordering clothes online. Our mall is pretty much empty so I think I’ll need to drive to our closest outlet mall this weekend for a little retail therapy.
  2. Brett and I have had a crazy couple of weeks! We went down to Florida for a week for Brett’s grandpa’s funeral and then last week Brett’s aunt stayed with us which meant lots of entertaining and family dinners. I’m exhausted!
  3. When I was in 8th grade I wanted to be a film director. I begged my parent’s to buy me a video camera for my 14th birthday and they did! I spent most of 2007-2008 filming every holiday, sleepover, and family event. I recently found the video camera and started watching my old “vlogs”. They are so sweet and I’m glad that I have them! I’m no longer friends with the people but I still loved seeing our happy times together! I feel like I need to do something with all of these videos now though. Let me know if you have any ideas!
  4. 2 years ago I was preparing for my wedding day! It feels like just yesterday and I can’t believe that I’ve been with Brett for almost 8 years now! We are planning a day date for our anniversary (August 19th) and I can’t wait to spend some time together.
  5. I’ve been in a bit of a blogging slump lately and haven’t had the motivation to write anything. I go through these slumps every once in awhile but this one feels especially bad. I hope to be back with regularly scheduled content soon!

How was your week? Do you have any plans with weekend?

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Photo by meriç tuna on Unsplash

July According to my iPhone

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July was another crazy busy month! I’m trying to enjoy every minute of summer but it’s going by way too quick. In July I got to celebrate the birth of my twin nieces, lots of birthdays, family time, and unfortunately, the death of Brett’s grandpa.

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My husband, Brett, works for an airline but he also works as a Media Director for a local airshow and balloon festival. The airshow takes place the week of the fourth so leading up to that I got to watch all of his news interviews on TV. He does such a great job!

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I don’t really care for airplanes but I do love seeing the hot air balloons! This picture was taken at one of the night balloon illumes. I especially love the American flag balloon!

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Next we celebrated the birth of my sister in law’s twins! Her and her husband had been trying for kids for at least 5 years before these little miracles were born. Ava and Elizabeth were born July 12th at 35 weeks. Their mom had been hospitalized since 31 weeks. Mom and babies are doing great! The girls got released from the NICU a few days ago and are home with their parents.

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Oscar got to come to work with me for the afternoon! He loved meeting my co-workers, getting lots of cuddles, and sitting on my lap while I worked. He’s such a good boy!

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Brett’s grandpa passed away on July 15th at 97 years old. Grandpa Ed was in the Army Air Force in WWII. We went down to Florida last week for his service and to clean out the house. He was buried with full military honors. Grandma Emma who passed away in 2017 was buried alongside him.

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We also had to say goodbye to Emma and Ed’s house in Florida. We spent four days cleaning everything out, organizing, and dividing all the belongings. I had a hard time leaving because I have so many great memories from our many trips to visit.

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These two were my favorite! Just look how sweet they were! I have so much love for both Ed and Emma and know that they loved me just as much. One of my favorite things about this trip was looking through the millions of pictures they had collected. Ed scrapbooked before scapbooking was cool! His scrapbook from WWII was one of the coolest things I have ever seen.

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Brett’s Aunt from Tennessee is visiting this week. They had a family reunion on Sunday so she’s been staying at our house since. It’s kind of fun having our first real house guest!

July had many highs and lows. It was hard to lose Grandpa Ed but we gained two new lives at nearly the same time. We had prayed for Ava and Elizabeth for years and I can’t wait to pass on the stories of their amazing great-grandparents to them.

How was your July?

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Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren

Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren

I love summer reading! I’m always looking for a book that I can relate to that’s not too serious. Something that I can get lost in for a little while. I had read a few other reviews for Love and Other Words and added it right away to my TBR list.

Summary:

Macy Sorensen is settling into an ambitious if emotionally tepid routine: work hard as a new pediatrics resident, plan her wedding to an older, financially secure man, keep her head down and heart tucked away.

But when she runs into Elliot Petropoulos—the first and only love of her life—the careful bubble she’s constructed begins to dissolve. Once upon a time, Elliot was Macy’s entire world—growing from her gangly bookish friend into the man who coaxed her heart open again after the loss of her mother…only to break it on the very night he declared his love for her.

Told in alternating timelines between Then and Now, teenage Elliot and Macy grow from friends to much more—spending weekends and lazy summers together in a house outside of San Francisco devouring books, sharing favorite words, and talking through their growing pains and triumphs. As adults, they have become strangers to one another until their chance reunion. Although their memories are obscured by the agony of what happened that night so many years ago, Elliot will come to understand the truth behind Macy’s decade-long silence, and will have to overcome the past and himself to revive her faith in the possibility of an all-consuming love.

Review:

I started reading this book on one of the nights where we had a bad storm and our power went out. I read for about an hour and decided that I didn’t really like it. I was disappointed because I really thought I’d like it. My friend encouraged me to keep reading it and I’m glad they did!

I fell in love with Macy and Elliott. I loved their story and their characters. I cried with them, laughed with them, and cheered them on throughout the book. I loved the flashbacks to when they first met and fell in love. There’s just something so magical about falling in love and this book was special because you get to see it happening twice.

Macy’s story was rough to read but so powerful. I loved that she was fiercely independent but didn’t know exactly what she wanted to do with her life. This book shows her struggles and you get to watch her overcome so many things from her present and her past.

Favorite Quotes:

“I give myself three more seconds to look at him, and it’s like another punch to the gut. He’s my person. He’s always been my person. My best friend, my confidant, probably the love of my life. And I’ve spent the last eleven years being angry and self-righteous. But at the end of the day, he tore a hole in us, and fate ripped it wide open. “I’m going to go,”

“Sometimes it feels like I think about you every minute,” he whispered.”

“Tell her you love her. Girls need the words.”

“Admissions make feelings intensify simply because they are given space to breathe. Admissions lead to love, and admitting love is like tying yourself to a train track.”

“Don’t spoil her with toys; spoil her with books.”

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Again, I didn’t think I would love this book after reading it for a little bit. But in the end the powerful story and brilliant characters won me over. Macy’s family dynamics broke my heart but her love with Elliott sewed it back together.

Love and Other Words was a cute read but felt more meaningful than my normal YA romance book. It brought me back to my first relationship and heartbreak. It made me feel for these people who are really just characters in a book. It made me wonder if maybe these characters are based off of real life people?

I haven’t rated a book so highly yet in my book review series. I thought long and hard about this but honestly I think Love and Other Words deserves 4.5 stars. It was almost perfect in my eyes.

Have you read any good books lately?

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