Book Review: Meet Cute by Various YA Authors

Meet Cute YA Authors Book Review

I began reading Meet Cute before I published my New Year, New Reading list post. Brett got me this book for Christmas and I was so excited to start reading it! Some of my favorite YA authors are featured including Nicola Yoon, Huntley Fitzpatrick, and Katie Cotugno. I fell in love with the writing styles of many of the other authors and have already added some of their books to my TBR list. I can’t wait to read more!

Summary:

Whether or not you believe in fate, or luck, or love at first sight, every romance has to start somewhere. Meet Cute is an anthology of original short stories featuring tales of “how they first met” from some of today’s most popular YA authors.
 
Readers will experience Nina LaCour’s beautifully written piece about two Bay Area girls meeting via a cranky customer service Tweet, Sara Shepard’s glossy tale about a magazine intern and a young rock star, Nicola Yoon’s imaginative take on break-ups and make-ups, Katie Cotugno’s story of two teens hiding out from the police at a house party, and Huntley Fitzpatrick’s charming love story that begins over iced teas at a diner. There’s futuristic flirting from Kass Morgan and Katharine McGee, a riveting transgender heroine from Meredith Russo, a subway missed connection moment from Jocelyn Davies, and a girl determined to get out of her small town from Ibi Zoboi. Jennifer Armentrout writes a sweet story about finding love from a missing library book, Emery Lord has a heartwarming and funny tale of two girls stuck in an airport, Dhonielle Clayton takes a thoughtful, speculate approach to pre-destined love, and Julie Murphy dreams up a fun twist on reality dating show contestants.
 
This incredibly talented group of authors brings us a collection of stories that are at turns romantic and witty, epic and everyday, heartbreaking and real.

Review:

First things first, the format of this book is incredible! I was skeptical of the short story format but really fell in love with being able to read a whole story in under 30 minutes. It was a perfect before bed read because I’m one of those people who have a hard time just reading one chapter. I tend to stay up way too late reading at night if I’m really into a book. The short stories allowed me to read one or two a night and then go to bed happy. 

I don’t want to give away too much about the book by reviewing each and every story. However, I can say that there wasn’t one story in this book that I disliked. Each one was unique and the endings left much to the imagination yet I was disappointed at all. I love when books have clear endings that leave everything tied up in a neat little bow. Even though many of these stores did not have clear endings I still loved them! 

I also love that these stories feature more than just your traditional boy-girl love story. Emery Lord’s story about two girls meeting in an airport was one of my absolute favorites! It was so cute and charming!

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Let’s be honest, I’ll probably only ever write reviews for books I love because I can never seem to force myself to finish reading a book that I don’t enjoy. I’ll keep trying but in my opinion life’s too short to read a bad book.

Seeing each author’s writing style and unique take on first impressions was such a cool experience. It fueled my love for my favorite authors and helped me find new authors to add to my favorites list. 

Have you read any amazing books lately? How do you feel about short stories? 

Until next time! Thanks for reading!

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New Year, New Reading List

2019 Reading List

In 2018 I fell back in love with reading. I learned to read at an early age and always had a book with me when I was growing up. As I got older my love for reading always remained but the free-time I had to read dwindled. In 2018 I wanted to read more and find the joy of a good book again. Going into 2019 I want to continue this exploration of books and my love for reading.

What does this mean for the blog?

Hopefully it means more reading lists and book reviews. The amazing thing about reading is that it reminds me how much I love to write. Reading inspires writing which inspires blogging. Therefore, more reading equals more blogging!

To start off 2019 I will be sharing a list of books that I am hoping to read this year. If I don’t like a book I have a very hard time convincing myself to continue reading it. I’ve read reviews for all of the below books and I’m really hoping that I like them! By the way, this list is in no particular order.

  1. Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares – Rachel Coon and David Levithan
  2. 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do – Amy Morin
  3. People Like Us – Dana Mele
  4. Meet Cute – Various YA Authors
  5. Becoming – Michelle Obama
  6. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck – Mark Manson
  7. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up – Marie Kondo
  8. Holding Up The Universe – Jennifer Niven
  9. One Day In December – Josie Silver
  10. The Yellow Envelope – Kim Dinan
  11. The Librarian of Auschwitz – Antonio Iturbe
  12. The 5 Love Languages – Gary Chapman

If I find other books I will be adding them to my list. I have a huge stack of books on my nightstand right now and I tend to just grab whatever sounds good and start reading it. Brett knows that if he needs to buy me a gift for any reason he should go straight to my Amazon wishlist and buy any of the books that I have on there.

Please let me know if you have any other book recommendations! I go through books pretty quickly especially in the summer and winter months so I always appreciate a good recommendation.

Have you read any amazing books lately? Or are there any books that you are dying to read this year?

Thanks for reading!

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IKEA Haul – January 2019

IKEA Haul Jan 2019

One of my greatest loves in this world is IKEA. You can ask my eighth grade best friend and she’d tell you of my great love story with IKEA. I think my love of home-ware comes from years of playing The Sims. I didn’t care much for playing with the Sims themselves but I did love building and decorating their homes. Was anyone else obsessed with The Sims when they were younger? Or now?

One of my favorite parts of being a homeowner is decorating our house. I love finding my personal style and adding touches of our personalities throughout our home. IKEA has made it easy to furnish our home on a budget. One day when we have more time and money I’m sure we will re-decorate but for now I’m really happy with how our house is turning out.

This past Saturday I had the opportunity of introducing two of our guys friends to the wonders of IKEA. So please picture me with three guys traveling two hours to IKEA to shop for home décor. 3 out of the 4 of us loved IKEA. Brett still hates shopping.

This is probably my smallest IKEA haul ever but my mom, sister, and I were just there a few months ago so I stocked up then. This time I mainly focused on home organization to help me get our house back in order after the holidays. We have a built in floor to ceiling cabinet in our bathroom that was in desperate need of re-organizing.

What I Bought

  • FEJKA artificial plant – This was in the 75% off winter clearance section and was a last minute purchase. I had seen it throughout the store but wasn’t quite sure if I needed it. Our bedroom has pops of purple throughout so I think this will look really good on a nightstand or dresser. Plus it will look good all winter, not just Christmas.
  • DRÖNA box – I bought two of these for the shelves in my closet. They work great for storing t-shirts, pajamas, swimsuits, etc. We also have one of these boxes in our basement for video games, in our dining room for dog and cat necessities, and another one for out of season decor.
  • SKUBB box set of 6 – These are my absolute favorite IKEA product and this trip they were on sale for only $1.99! I bought two sets and have already used them in the drawers in our bathroom to store makeup, nail polish, hair products, and various other bathroom products. I have at least 4 other sets of these boxes organizing our dressers, pantry, and closets.
  • SKUBB storage case – We don’t have a traditional linen closet so we have been storing our extra bedding in our upstairs bedroom’s closet. I bought two of these storage cases to use under the bed in our master bedroom to store our extra bedding and Brett’s out of season clothing. I’ve already set one up and I’m loving it so far!
  • DOKUMENT letter tray – I bought this in white on sale for $5.99 to organize our bills and other important papers on our desk. I wanted something simple to organize our mail into since I HATE paper.
  • GREJIG shoe rack – I saw this in the closet section and knew that it would be perfect to organize bathroom products. I set it up on Sunday and it works perfectly to make everything more accessible in our bathroom cabinet.
  • KOPPLA 6 way adapter plug – I always like to have an extra one of these on hand because you never know when you’ll need it. We have very few outlets in our 1941 house so we have to be creative with how we use them.
  • LURVIG pet waste bags – I buy a package of these every time we go to IKEA. I attach the below bag container to Oscar’s leash for walks and all of our other adventures together.
  • LURVIG pet waste bag dispenser – I already have one of these on Oscar’s leash to store the pet waste bags but it’s starting to tear so I wanted to have a backup for when it does.
  • UPPHETTA french press – I don’t drink coffee but Brett does and he’s wanted a french press for awhile. I highly doubt he will use this on a daily basis but it will be nice for lazy Sunday brunches when we have extra time to enjoy our morning.
  • HEAT trivet – I think this is the third pack of these that we’ve bought in the past few years. I love these to protect our counters and dining room table from hot dishes of food. We’ve entertained a lot since buying our house so it’s nice to have a stash of these for dinner parties.

Like I said before, this is our smallest IKEA haul to date but we got several great items to help organize and simplify our home. Let me know if you have any tips for keeping your house organized! I’m currently reading Marie Kondo’s Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up and am hoping to put some of her tips into use.

Have you been to IKEA? What’s your favorite IKEA product?

Thanks for reading!

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My Legendary 25th Birthday!

John Legend, 25th Birthday

Hey friends!

My 25th birthday was at the end of October and yes I know this post is super late but I really wanted to share it with you!

Birthdays are always so special and this one was even more important because of this blog. Life of Hayley began as a way for me to document the 25 things I wanted to accomplish before turning 25. I started blogging right after my 20th birthday and it really evolved from there into a hobby that I love.

I had been simultaneously looking forward to and dreading my 25th birthday for the past couple of months. I wasn’t worried about reaching my goals that I set for myself when I was 20. In fact, I haven’t been worried about those goals in years. I’m proud of how far I’ve come and all I have accomplished in the past five years. I’m looking forward to the next five!

So let’s talk about why this birthday was so Legendary with a capital L.

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Have you heard of John Legend? Well, my work throws some pretty sweet parties and for their 20th Anniversary Gala they invited John Legend as the surprise musical guest and the Gala happened to fall on my birthday! Which meant that I got to get all dressed up in black tie apparel, get my hair and makeup done, and spend the evening eating, drinking, and singing along to John Legend with Brett and my favorite co-workers. Talk about Legendary!

I couldn’t think of a better way to start my 25th year!

Thanks so much for reading!

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2019: First Quarter Goals

2019 Goals. New Years Resolutions. 2019 1st Quarter Goals

The time is finally here to start planning my goals for 2019. The past year flew by and I’m not sad to see it go. January always feels like a fresh start and this year I could really use a clean slate.

My goals for the first three months of 2019 are below and I encourage you to set goals for yourself too! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; setting quarterly goals instead of annual ones has been a game changer for me! I started setting quarterly goals at the end of 2017 and continued through all of 2018. I actually found myself looking back on my goals more often and completing them!

  1. Get a professional haircut. It’s incredibly sad that this is my first goal but the truth is that I HATE getting my hair cut. The whole process takes way too long and I’m rarely 100% satisfied with the results. I have super thick, wavy hair and most hairstylists don’t seem to know how to handle it. I like to joke that my hair is allergic to water because the second it gets wet it goes crazy and refuses to untangle. I have tried every product imaginable to tame the beast but I’ve summed it up to be #thickhairproblems. Do you have any hair products that you swear by?
  2. Travel at least twice. After our trip to Europe in October I was exhausted and traveling was the last thing I wanted to do. But Brett loves to travel and deep down I do too. I don’t want my love of adventures to be another thing my headaches take away from me. Brett and I want to take at least two small trips during Q1 including a trip to Florida to visit his Grandpa. The other trip will likely be a super spontaneous weekend trip so stayed tuned for the details!
  3. Commit to the blog. I have said this over and over before but have never stuck to it. I love blogging and in 2019 I want to focus more on doing the things that I love. Over the past 5 years the blogging community has embraced me and this has become my safe place away from everything else. I want 2019 to be the best year ever for Life of Hayley!
  4. Read three books and write reviews. One of the best things that 2018 brought me was my love of books. So far I have partially read two books that I am loving. I enjoy writing book reviews so hopefully I will find three books that I love to review!
  5. Meal plan and prep for the week ahead. I’ll admit that I haven’t cooked a real meal in a long time. My Crock pot and I became really good friends in 2018 because I had no energy or desire to cook. I’m kinda sick of the standard Crock pot meals though and am ready to start eating healthier and meal planning. Before our wedding in 2017 I was the Queen of meal prep. I’m hoping to at least get to Princess level in 2019.
  6. Make healthy living a top priority. I almost titled this goal as “making weight loss a priority” but then I re-evaluated my mind-set. This goal isn’t all about the number on the scale. I know that I need to lose weight but I also know my negative relationship with my body image. For me, the focus has to be on eating healthier and exercising and not the number on the scale.

In addition to setting quarterly goals I also wanted to choose a word to capture my goals for 2019. It took me longer than I care to admit to find a word that completely covers everything that I want to accomplish this year.

The word I picked is confidence.

Confidence in my ability to fight the demons that I am facing. Confidence in myself to be the best person that I can be. Confidence in my body as I look in the mirror everyday. Confidence as I stand in front of my co-workers with the knowledge that I can do my job well. Confidence that I am moving in the right direction.

Confidence in me.

What are your goals for 2019? Let me know below.

Thanks for reading!

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2018: The Good, Bad, and The Ugly

2018 re-cap

 

Hey friends!

2019 is here but I wanted to take a moment to reflect on 2018. I had a conversation with some friends awhile ago about how 2018 had not been that great of a year for me. It was a year of struggling. Struggling with work, pain, and loneliness. Struggling with trying to find myself, accepting who I am, and trying to figure out what healthy means to me.

In this post I am sharing a list of things I did in 2018. It’s easy to look at this list and see only the positive things. I had Brett read it before posting because I wanted to make sure I wasn’t coming off as braggy. Here’s the thing to remember though, I accomplished a lot this year between my personal and professional life but it’s not all rainbows and butterflies. I had a headache or migraine every single day in 2018.

So when you look at this and every other blogger’s 2018 re-cap I urge you to remember that it’s not perfect all the time. I urge you to not compare your list with other’s. Because my list looks perfect but I can assure you that it’s not.

Without further ado here’s my list of what my life consisted of in 2018.

In 2018 I….

  • Celebrated 5 years of blogging
  • Bought a house
  • Adopted Oscar from the animal shelter
  • Got promoted
  • Crossed Rome off of my travel Bucketlist
  • Traveled to Paris for the third time
  • Celebrated one year of marriage with Brett
  • Surpassed my goal of reading 12 books in a year
  • Found a new Neurologist
  • Saw John Legend perform a private concert at my work party on the same day as my 25th birthday
  • Started a “House Fund” to save for building a new bathroom and re-doing our driveway
  • Spent a weekend in Traverse City with friends
  • Fell in love with decorating our house
  • Celebrated two years at my job
  • Helped my parents pick out a new puppy
  • Celebrated eight years of kitten motherhood
  • Turned 25 and reflected on my 25 before 25 list
  • Covered a three month long maternity leave at work
  • Started a new medicine that made me insanely sick
  • Stopped taking said medicine and started feeling much better
  • Lost 10 pounds
  • Focused more on self-love and less on the scale
  • Struggled with finding work-life balance
  • Fell in love with reading again
  • Spent more time with family
  • Struggled a lot with feeling sad and lonely
  • Accepted my introvert tendencies and tried to learn how to work with them instead of against them
  • Found a wonderful and supportive group of blogger friends
  • Went to countless airshows with Brett
  • Traveled around Michigan and other nearby states
  • Came to the conclusion that life really is better with a dog
  • Started blogging regularly (for the most part!)
  •  

Like I mentioned before, it’s easy to look at this list and only see the good. But 2018 was one of the hardest years of my life. I learned valuable lessons and tried to share my life with others in a positive way. I never want to be the person on social media who someone compares their life to.

My 2019 1st Quarter goals will be up soon. I’m going to continue doing quarterly goals instead of yearly goals because I really do think that they work better for me.

What are your goals for 2019? And how do you feel 2018 went for you?

Thanks for reading!

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Life Update

Life Update - You Got This - Chronic Migraine

Hey friends!

It’s been awhile since my last blog post and I have started writing this so many times but have never hit publish for one reason or another. The last you heard from me I was in Italy with Brett enjoying a much needed vacation. I want to do a full recap on our time in Italy AND Paris very soon because it was amazing but first I wanted to go over a couple of things that I have happened while I’ve been away.

The first big thing that I celebrated was my 25th birthday! My birthday always causes me to reflect on the reason why I started Life of Hayley. This blog began right after my 20th birthday as a way to document the 25 things I wanted to accomplish before turning 25. With that said, Life of Hayley is turning five! I can’t believe that I’ve been blogging for five years already! A full recap on my five years of blogging will be coming your way very soon.

I also want to give a quick health update which is the main reason why I had to take a break from blogging. I did start seeing a new Neurologist in October and he started me on a new medication. I will probably do a full migraine update at some point but let’s just say this new medication say not agreed with me at all. I’ve been very sick for the past six weeks and it’s been taking a toll on my mental health. I hate that my health has once again impacted my blogging because I was really starting to grow this space but sometimes I have to take a step back and take care of myself first.

I promise that there will be more to follow soon. I don’t want to drop off the face of the planet again.

Thanks for reading!

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