3 Year Work Anniversary

rick-tap-uJhgEXPqSPk-unsplash.jpg

3 years ago today I was a nervous wreck as I drove downtown for the first day of my current job. I sat in the parking garage for at least 20 minutes because I was so nervous and didn’t want to be late for my first day. I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

Prior to this job I had worked for 6 years at a restaurant. It was my very first job that I started when I was only 17 and I loved it! Saying goodbye to my co-workers was difficult and I was scared to leave my comfort zone. I thought about staying at this restaurant forever but I had worked so hard for my college degree and I wanted to do something more impactful.

I had dreamed of working in a big city doing social media marketing for a super cool company. I’d dress perfectly and have everything figured out. At 22 I had no idea what I was doing. I took a bad social media marketing class and threw the idea of marketing out the window for a job in finance. I knew nothing about the financial industry and was honestly in way over my head.

For the first few months I begged myself to make it a year in my job. I loved the company but I didn’t feel like I fit in at all. I was super depressed because it was such a cool place to work but I hated it.

So I made a change. I talked to my boss and switched roles within my department. I loved my co-workers and quickly made friends and an impact on the team. I worked my way up, covered a difficult maternity leave, and got promoted! I haven’t thought about quitting in a long time.

3 years ago I started this job that I thought would get me some good work experience. Here I am absolutely loving my job everyday and imagining staying forever. It’s funny how much things change in only 3 years!

I’m proud of how far I have come in 3 years and I know I will continue to grow within my role. My team is amazing and I have two leaders who want me to succeed. I never thought I’d enjoy a job in finance but it’s interesting, challenging, and exciting.

Here’s to many more happy years!

Footer

Photo by Rick Tap on Unsplash

The Blogger Comparison Game

emma-matthews-O_CLjxjzN3M-unsplash.jpg

A couple of years ago I took an internet marking class in college that made me decide to quit blogging. I had already been blogging for a couple of years at this point and no longer could handle it. I hated comparing myself to other bloggers and their successes. I hated looking at my stats and feeling like a failure because I couldn’t meet the goals that I had set for myself. I decided that I hated everything about blogging and shut my door to the community that I worked so hard to connect with.

I never thought that I would come out of blogging “retirement” but I’m so glad that I did! I pretty much had to build myself back up from nothing and it was rough. I let fear and self doubt crush everything that I had created and I almost let that fear win.

Blogging in the age of social media influencers is much harder than when I started this blog almost six years ago. When I started writing a blog for a college English class I never expected to love it and want to keep writing after the class was over. Having this space has become my creative outlet and all of you have become my internet friends.

Still, I find myself comparing my little piece of the internet to other’s. I feel a sense of belonging in the blogging community yet still compare my posts and pictures to everyone else’s. I cheer people on while tearing myself down because I’m a perfectionist and nothing ever feels good enough.

The blogger comparison game is real. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way and I wanted to share how I’ve been coping with my feelings.

The wonderful bloggers who I follow are amazing people. I’ve never met them in real life but I can tell because they put so much into their writing. Instead of comparing myself to them I’ve been trying to instead put my energy into engaging and building others up too. If I follow you it’s because I honestly love reading your content and I want you to do well!

As bloggers we have the unique ability to put our thoughts out into the world in either a negative or positive way. Playing this stupid comparison game with myself was a negative behavior and it was hurting my blogging. I will probably never be a social media influencer and that’s okay. I’ll always be a shy introvert who is just happy to share her truth with the world.

Do you find yourself getting caught up in the comparison game? How do you deal with it?

Footer

Photo by Emma Matthews on Unsplash

Our Love Story: 8 Year Anniversary

2Z8A9279.jpg

8 years ago today Brett and I went on our first date. Our mutual friend had introduced us through text one night when I was hanging out with her. We hit it off right away and talked everyday for a couple of weeks. Brett finally asked me out on a date while I was at my friend’s cottage on the lake. I was 17 and getting ready for my senior year of high school. Brett was 19 and was starting his junior year of college.

315314_200737079992843_458899472_n

Our first date was on August 19, 2011 at a mini golf and arcade place in our hometown. I remember seeing him for the first time as he got out of his car and walked towards mine. He was wearing a football jersey for our local university. The same university he was currently attending and I was hoping to attend in a year. I thought he was super cute and sweet.

316079_217741421625742_978058761_n

After our first date we were pretty much inseparable. We spent the rest of summer 2011 falling in love with each other. He took me to an early hot air balloon launch and we followed the balloons with his car. I navigated while he drove. After that we had breakfast at a cute little diner and then spent the day at the zoo. It was the perfect date day.

311459_217738524959365_1918309551_n

Brett was so supportive during my senior year. He came to marching band competitions, football games, flute concerts, and every graduation occasion.  He took me to prom and we danced the night away together. He helped setup my graduation party and stayed with me the whole day.

156498_342224612510755_1342094922_n

143

My favorite part of our story is our years in college. Brett was already attending my dream university so we ended up at college together! We both lived on campus my freshman year so we were able to eat meals together, study in the library, and hang out with friends. He helped me get acclimated to college and made the transition so much easier.

My junior year of college was when I decided to study abroad in London. It was a hard decision to make to be gone for 5 months but Brett was very supportive. I had been talking about studying abroad in London the whole time we were dating so he knew it was going to happen. He attended study abroad fairs with me and helped me choose the perfect program in London.

1095

Studying abroad was hard. This was the most difficult thing we had ever had to go through in our relationship but it made us a lot stronger. We were in different time zones and it was hard to make time to Skype. We planned on Brett coming to visit at the end of the semester with my mom and sister. It felt surreal when they finally bought their tickets!

Brett came a few days early so we could spend time with my new friends and I could show him around. I think he fell in love with London as much as I did during this trip. Once my mom and sister joined us we traveled around London, and to Denmark and Ireland. It was the trip of a lifetime!

The day I had to say goodbye to my friends in London was very memorable. Brett was planning on proposing to me and had been carrying around my engagement ring. He should have told my family his plan though! He left the ring in the safe while we went to dinner with my friends. My mom and sister found the ring box and opened it. While Dani was trying my ring on, my mom was texting her friend. Instead of texting her friend though she texted me on accident! She told me not to tell Brett but he had already seen the text.

732

I spent the rest of the trip wondering when Brett would propose. He didn’t propose in Denmark even though my exchange sister had set up the perfect scene. He didn’t propose in Ireland or on our last day in London. On our last night we stayed in a hotel by Heathrow. We went down to the hotel lobby to print our boarding passes and Brett asked me to take a walk with him. It was on that night, on some random road near Heathrow Airport, where Brett asked me to spend my life with him.

Brett+Hayley-2

We decided not to do any wedding planning until after graduation. We got engaged in 2015 and planned for a 2017 wedding. Our engagement was also hard. I was only 21 so I felt pretty isolated. Brett and I had been together for 4 years and I expected people to be thrilled for us. Instead I just felt really lonely.

Brett+Hayley-9

We graduated in the spring of 2016 and both of us had to figure out what to do next. We started applying for jobs and having interviews on top of planning our wedding. We picked a date, August 19th, 2017, a venue, and I picked a dress. Finally we both landed jobs and everything figured itself out.

In December 2016 we moved into a cute little apartment together and made it into our first semi-permanent home. We both moved around so much in college so it was nice to finally be settled. We had so many great times in that apartment!

HayleyBrettMT1A123122Z8A8003-2

Two years ago, on August 19th, 2017, I finally go to say “I do” and marry my best friend! You can read about my favorite wedding moments here if you are interested! Our wedding was English Garden themed with lots of flowers, music, friends, and family. We collected hundreds of antique teacups for the centerpieces and decor.

20993095_1525112894221915_8842422496352027723_n

Our honeymoon was in London and we were able to spend two weeks visiting all of our favorite places. It was the best! The last two years of marriage has been filled with ups and downs including buying a house, adopting a dog, changing jobs, etc.

Two years of marriage and six years of dating has flown by. We’ve had so many amazing memories together and I can’t wait for many more to come. Marriage isn’t always easy but it is always worth it.

Thanks for reading!

Footer

 

Murad Skincare Review

Murad Acne Products

I shared my acne story a couple of months ago and had a lot of great feedback on it! I hate hearing that other people are also struggling with acne and skin problems but I love how we are able to have open and honest conversations together. It’s hard to share something so personal with the internet but I would be happy to help just one other person with their acne journey.

Today I thought I’d share a super honest review on Murad. I first heard of Murad from our Danish exchange student when I was in high school. She came to Michigan with a tube of the acne spot treatment and let me borrow it to help with my acne and it worked really well!

A few years later when I was in college I was really struggling with my acne and saw that same spot treatment at Ulta. I noticed that they had the Clear Control 30-Day Acne Kit ($38) and immediately purchased it. Even though it was about 5 years ago I can remember my exact thought after trying the clarifying cleanser for the first time. I remember this moment because I still think the same thing every time I was my face with the Murad Clarifying Cleanser. I think “this feels and smells like a spa treatment”!

I first purchased these Murad products when I was in college with a really tight budget. I honestly feel like all of the Murad products are really reasonably priced for how well they work! I don’t mind investing in my skincare because I know what it’s like to have bad acne and I don’t want to go down that path again. One of the things I love most about Murad is that I know the products work for me so it never feels like a waste of money. I can’t even tell you how many times I have repurchased all of these products at this point!

My Tried and True Favorite Murad Products

  • Clarifying Cleanser ($30): What more can I say about this product? I love it so much and I have tried a ton of other cleansers! I feel like I am a cleanser expert by now. This makes my skin feel refreshed and clean but not dried out. I can feel it working but it’s not painful. I look forward to washing my face because it feels luxurious and spa-like. If you are going to buy just one Murad product I would recommend the Clarifying Cleanser!
  • Rapid Relief Acne Spot Treatment ($22): This was my first Murad product and what made me want to try more. For the most part, I don’t have a ton of new breakouts that form. But I always have a tube of this spot treatment on hand for any unexpected breakouts that form. This is easy to throw on and walk away because I know that it will get the job done!
  • Skin Perfecting Lotion ($40): I fell in love with this Skin Perfecting Lotion pretty quickly after buying my first Murad starter kit. I’d put it on after washing my face and could feel it start working right away. I contribute a lot of my clear skin to this product right here. One bottle easily lasts me 3-4 months and I use it every single day!
  • Oil Control Mattifier SPF 15++ PA ($40): Moisturizer is the most important part of my skincare routine. I always look for something that has SPF in it to wear during the daytime. This is my go to moisturizer for the summer because it’s a bit heavier than normal moisturizer. It makes my skin feel hydrated but not greasy. Best of all, it protects my skin from the sun while doing my normal day to day activities.

I have tried a few other Murad products and really loved them too but these are just my everyday favorites that I use to keep my skin healthy and clear. I still have breakouts every once in a while but it’s nowhere near my cystic acne that I had a few years ago.

I feel much more confident in my skin now and realize how important it is to invest in my skincare routine. I don’t change up my skincare products a ton because I have a good thing going. I do have a few other favorite skincare products that are not from Murad that I can share at a later date.

If you are struggling with acne, just keep trying products until you find what works best for you! I tried SO many other products before I found Murad. What works for me may not work for you. It’s frustrating and expensive but you are worth it! Skincare is something that I am passionate about because it’s been an uphill battle to get where I’m at now with my skin.

What are your favorite skincare products? Have you found any life changing acne products?

Footer

7 Reasons Why You Should Say “Yes” To Studying Abroad

080

As many of you may know, I studied abroad in 2015 at Regent’s University in London, England. You can find all of my study abroad posts here if you’re interested. Studying abroad was one of the most terrifying, exhilarating, and life-changing experiences and I haven’t stopped thinking about it since I flew home from Heathrow.

I knew I wanted to study abroad in London after traveling there with band the summer before my senior year of high school. I fell in love with the culture, history, and architecture and could already picture myself strolling around London solo. My love for London was strong and four years later my dream came true when I got accepted to Regent’s University’s study abroad program.

If you are contemplating study abroad I have one main piece of advice for you: GO! It’s scary and you’ll miss home but this is a once in a lifetime experience to fully immerse yourself in a new culture and way of life.

Here are seven more reasons you should study abroad in college:

  1. Studying abroad will look great on your resume! Employers are looking for things that set candidates apart. Study abroad will give you a global perspective that not everyone will have. Plus, it shows that you are willing to go outside of your comfort zone and try something new.
  2. You’ll meet friends from all over the world. The friends I met in London continue to be some of my best friends today. I was able to meet people from all over the world including Russia, Germany, Switzerland, Peru, Argentina, Colombia, and many many more. I learned about their cultures, languages, and customs. I was the only American in my classes which was a really awesome experience!
  3. You can travel to some really cool places. This is especially true if you study abroad in Europe because it’s really inexpensive to travel between European countries. You can plan quick weekend getaways or week long adventures during school breaks. Depending on where you study abroad you may even be able to join school sponsored trips. My university offered trips to Paris, Scotland, Stonehenge, and many others.
  4. You won’t be the same after. Study abroad is guaranteed to change your life in some way. You will have new friends, new memories, and new experiences that will shape you for the rest of your life.
  5. Studying abroad makes you grateful for the life you have. I loved my study abroad experience but coming home made me appreciate all of the little things even more. I missed my parents, my sister, and Brett while I was gone but being away from them made me appreciate them so much more. I also appreciated all of sacrifices my family made in order to help me study abroad.
  6. You’ll gain real life experiences. I had so many opportunities in London that I never would have had at home. I participated in a global business conference where I had to present in front of a large group of my peers and business men and women from all over the world. Experiences like this prepared me for the “real” world after graduation and made me confident in my abilities.
  7. You’ll become more independent. There will be times when you wish your mom or dad could be around to help you but they are hundreds of miles away. At the time it’ll feel awful but it will allow you to problem solve on your own. You will have to grocery shop, do your own laundry, and plan trips by yourself or with your new friends. You will come home with a new sense of independence and be ready for whatever life throws your way next.

I know that studying abroad can be scary. It’s hard to leave your home university, your family, and your friends. But putting yourself out there is so important. I almost talked myself out of going hundreds of times but I am super happy that I took a leap of faith and went.

Let me know if you have any questions about studying abroad. I documented the whole process from applying, getting accepted, packing, and my adventures abroad if you need any inspiration for why you should go.

I can’t wait to hear about your adventures!

Footer

 

Top Ten by Katie Cotugno

Top Ten by Katie Cotugno - YA Book Recommendation

Last summer I reviewed 99 Days by Katie Cotugno and I really enjoyed it! If I like a book by an author I always make sure to check out other books that they have written. Top Ten has been on my Amazon wishlist for months and I finally purchased it when I was looking for a quick and fun read.

Summary:

Ryan McCullough and Gabby Hart are the unlikeliest of best friends. Prickly, anxious Gabby would rather do literally anything than go to a party. Ultra-popular Ryan is a hockey star who can get any girl he wants—and frequently does.

But somehow their relationship just works; from dorky Monopoly nights to rowdy house parties to the top ten lists they make about everything under the sun.

Now, on the night of high school graduation, everything is suddenly changing—in their lives, and in their relationship. As they try to figure out what they mean to each other and where to go from here, they make a final top ten list: this time, counting down the top ten moments of their friendship.

Review:

If you want a book that will take you back to high school, this is it. I hated 98% of my high school experience but I do really enjoy YA books. This book was so relatable because it explored friendship, first loves, breakups, tense family dynamics, and mental and physical health.

I really enjoyed the perspective from both Ryan and Gabby. Their characters were developed really well throughout the book. The timeline was a bit hard to follow because it kept jumping back and forth from the past and present. But overall it was cool to read about how their friendship developed and changed over the years and it made me miss my high school friends.

What I loved most about this book though was Gabby. I loved her introvertedness and how awkward she always felt. I loved when she explains her anxiety and her fears. I loved her sisters and her family. And I really loved reading about how she finally overcame her fears.

I did not enjoy the ending of the book. It feels unfinished and I still have so many questions. I enjoy having everything tied up in a neat little bow and that didn’t happen this time. I was also left thinking about my own high school experience which is never the most fun thing to think about.

Rating: 3/5 Stars

I’m a quick reader so if I like a book I can fly through it in one sitting. This book took me a couple of weeks to finish. I’d read a couple chapters each night before bed but honestly I wasn’t super invested in the book itself. I still give it 3 stars because the characters were so well developed and I did enjoy the plot. I think Katie wrote about some tough topics that are important to read about and understand.

There’s just something about high school that makes everyone a little mushy on the inside. Whether you enjoyed it or hated it, there are still so many memories associated with that time period of your life. For me, I had a best friend turned boyfriend who I dated for the first two years of high school. We had been friends for years before that so he just felt like such an important piece of my life at the time. He was nothing like Ryan from this book though and it was a blessing in disguise when he broke up with me. But still, the memory of my ex-friend/boyfriend is one of the main things that ruins my high school memories.

I’m already finished with my next book so hopefully I’ll have another book review up soon! Have you read any good books lately?

Footer

 

5 Tips For Finding Your Dream Job

5 Tips For Finding Your Dream Job

After my post about finding my dream job in the most unexpected place I decided to share a few tips on how you can find your own dream job! I read numerous blogs while I was searching for a job but I never thought that I’d find my dream job right out of college. 

If you want to know more about my job search and career path you can find it all in this post

  1. Keep an open mind. Like I mentioned before, I thought my current job would be a stepping stone for future opportunities. I had no idea that I would find myself in such an amazing position on an unbeatable team! Keep an open mind when you are applying for jobs and take the chance if you are excited about the company. There’s usually room for advancement and it’s good to get your foot in the door. 
  2. Fill out those applications! I cannot even tell you how many job applications I filled out during my job search. It’s super important to fill applications for jobs that you are interested in applying for in a timely fashion. There’s usually a pretty wide window to turn in your application but the sooner you can turn it in the better. 
  3. Be honest in your interview. When I was interviewing for my current company I was honest in saying that my background was in marketing and not finance but I was excited to learn a new industry. I talked about my strength in working in a fast paced environment and learning quickly under pressure. I also explained how I may not be the most qualified candidate but I could be the best teammate if given the chance. Don’t go into an interview assuming that you are the best person in the world for the job. Be humble and honest when you talk about why you are interested in the position and what unique talents you can bring to the company. 
  4. Ask questions about the job. Come prepared with a few questions that you can ask during the interview because the person interviewing you will ask if you have any. While you are being interviewed it’s important to think of some additional questions that relate to what you are talking about. We have had a couple of interviews where the candidate didn’t have any questions for my team and it was pretty clear that there wasn’t much interest in the job on their part. 
  5. Be picky! I know this goes against my #1 suggestion but let me explain a little. My first job interview after college was for a marketing company that seemed more than a little fishy. After doing some more digging I realized that they were disguising a sales position with a marketing title and it was really a sales job for a pyramid scheme. I was just so happy to have an interview that I almost accepted the job even though I knew I’d be miserable. This tip is more about not settling for a job you’ll end up hating just to say you got a job.

I really hope these tips help you land the career you’ve always dreamed of! Remember that great things can take time and there’s no rush. It may take a long time to find your dream job and that’s okay. Honestly, your dream job may change a hundred times during your career. Keep an open mind and you will be just fine! 

Footer

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash