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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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

Vacation Mode

Vacation Mode

I love to travel but now that I’m a full-time working adult I don’t get to travel quite as much as I want to. Brett and I still make it a priority to travel at least a few times each yet even if they are just small trips.

This week we are going on an extra special trip and I am so excited! We have been planning this trip for a couple of months now and I’ve been counting down the days until we finally get to leave.

Vacation time is really important to me in order to avoid burnout at work. When I work for too many months without a vacation I start to get frustrated and grumpy. Taking some time off allows me to reset my focus and come back relaxed and ready to tackle whatever challenge is thrown my way next.

Do you have any summer vacations planned this year?

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Photo by S O C I A L . C U T on Unsplash

 

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

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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!

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6 Things I Wish I Could Tell My High School Best Friend

6 Things I Wish I Could Tell High School Best Friend

Happy Monday!

I had a dream last night about my old high school best friends. Our group of friends fell apart my junior year and by the time we were seniors we barely talked at all. But at one point that group of girls meant everything to me.

In my dream, we were in my friend’s basement where we spent so many nights at. It felt so familiar. The strange thing was that my friend wanted nothing to do with me. I tried to talk to her but she kept walking away.

In real life this friend deleted me on Facebook and has avoided me in public when I know for a fact that she saw me. I made a list of the six things I wish I could tell her but know that I never will.

  1. I still think of you often and hope that you are well.
  2. I have no bad feelings towards you. In fact, I don’t even remember why we aren’t friends anymore. I think we just grew apart but I’m sorry if I did anything to hurt you.
  3. Our friendship meant so much to me. I’m glad I had you in my life even though it was only for a few years.
  4. I’m proud of you. From what I can see, it looks like you are living your best life. I used to know all your goals and aspirations and even though things have changed, it still looks like you have lived out your dreams.
  5. It really hurts that you deleted me on Facebook. I know it doesn’t matter but I feel like you just erased me from your life.
  6. I’m still here if you ever need to talk to anyone.

Friendships can be tricky and the older I get the more I realize this. I don’t think I’ll ever have a group of friends like my middle/high school group of girls. Things weren’t always perfect but I knew that they always had my back. So much time has passed that I don’t remember why we are no longer friends and the truth is that I don’t really care.

I do have two girls from elementary school that I am still friends with. Our friendship has stood the test of time and even though we are hundreds of miles apart I know we will be friends for the rest of our lives.

Are you still in contact with your high school friends?

Thanks so much for reading!

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2018: Second Quarter Goals

2018 Second Quarter Goals
Hello there!

I didn’t think this post was going to happen but here we are. What’s new with you? Are you crushing your 2018 goals?

I am back with another quarterly goal list and I just wanted to mention how first quarter went for me.

The first three months of 2018 went by so quickly. January was a blur of excitement, anxiety, and many, many tears. February featured the birth of my co-worker’s baby which means three months of maternity leave for her. In other words, I am swamped at work but thriving. I am learning every day and my team is simply amazing. March feels like it didn’t even happen. March meant long hours, lots of meals at my desk, and an overflowing calendar. In other words, tax season. It’s been a rough three months but I am grateful every day for the opportunities that have been thrown my way.

We are almost one month down for the first quarter. I still can’t believe how fast this year is going! Can time just please slow down a bit?!

So, here are a few of the things I am hoping to accomplish during what is left of the second quarter.

  1. Create healthy habits. What does a healthy lifestyle look like for me? I am still trying to figure this out but I will not stop until I have the answers that I am looking for. I don’t like what I see in the mirror and I am going to change that. Baby steps are needed but little by little I will get to where I want to be.
  2. Family First. My grandparents are back from Arizona which means that summer is right around the corner. I want to spend as much time as I can with my family. I want to go camping, spend days at the lake, and just enjoy as much time as I can with the people that I love most.
  3. Make our house a home. If you didn’t read my last post, Brett and I bought a house and moved in last month! We are so excited to decorate and really turn this house into our own home. We have dreamed of this for so long and still can’t believe that this is our reality. This is the beginning of another chapter in our story.
  4. Me Time. I find myself putting other people first a lot of the time. I often forget to take care of myself. I want to find time to do things that help myself like get a haircut and buy some clothes that will flatter my new, curvier figure. I have spent so much time the last couple of months being really negative about my body so I need to spend some time on making myself better from the inside out.
  5. Blogging. Is this still a thing? Does Life of Hayley even exist or matter? It’s time to figure it out. Maybe I will never be full time writer or have the most pin worthy posts but sharing pieces of my story impacts my life is a positive way. I need to figure out a way to make this blog work. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! 🙂
  6. Get my head in the game. A huge thing that is holding me back is my health. I mentioned in a recent post that my headaches and migraines have been getting worse. It’s miserable. I have an appointment with my neurologist in mid May. I am hoping to discuss some next steps with him that could improve my quality of life. Right now I feel like I am just trying to make it through each day in one piece.

Wow, I had a lot to say. I sometimes forget how much I love having an outlet for all of these thoughts that usually just bounce around in my head.

I would love to hear from you so please comment below with questions, words of encouragement, or just a simple “hello”. I love to hear from you.

As always, thank you so much for reading. Hopefully I will be back soon with more. 🙂

 

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