October According to my iPhone

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It’s November! October is my favorite month so I am kind of bummed that it’s over but I had a great month and I’m excited to share this month’s round of iPhone pictures.

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October started out badly with the passing of my good friend, Alex. He was only 25 and I had known him since kindergarten. Alex was also my freshman year roommate’s ex-boyfriend so we spent a great deal of our college careers together. He was so funny and had always been a great friend. I’ll really miss him. He was hit by a car on his way to work which once again proves that life is way too short. Brett and I always raise a glass and toast to our loved ones when they pass. It’s something that I learned from my mom and have continued doing.

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Oscar the burrower looking too cute for words.

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Brett and I babysat our nieces, Ava and Elizabeth, while their parents had a nice night out. It’s so cute to see Brett interact with them! A couple of months ago he was too scared to hold them but now he’s first to react when they cry and is always ready to rock them back to sleep. He’s the best uncle!

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We got Oscar a Detroit Lions jersey. He had such an exciting day watching the game with the guys that he fell asleep with his jersey on!

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My work had their annual Fall Festival and I had the opportunity to co-sponsor it. It was a lot of work but so much fun!

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I spent many days at the lake with my grandparents. The lake is my favorite!

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I celebrated 3 years at work! My company sent me a beautiful Orchid and a gift card.

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My dad stopped by the night before my birthday with donuts and cider from our local apple orchard. It was the best way to start my birthday weekend!

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Brett got me my favorite cake from Coldstone. It’s called Peanut Butter Playground. Yummmm

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We spent the Sunday of my birthday weekend at the lake with my family. My grandpa and I have the same birth date so we always celebrate together! So much fun!

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We had a snowy Halloween night in Michigan but at least Bruno and Oscar looked cute! My nieces came over along with their parents, my parents, Brett’s mom, and Brett’s uncle. We had a good night despite the cold weather!

How was your October?

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A Day at the Beach: South Haven, MI

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Monday was our 8 year anniversary, 2 years married and 6 years dating. Brett and I both took the day off of work so we could spend time together. We decided to head to South Haven which is about an hour from our house.

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South Haven is a little town in Southwest Michigan located along Lake Michigan. One of the best things about Michigan is all of the lakes! We usually spend time at one of our smaller local lakes but being only an hour from Lake Michigan is pretty amazing. South Haven is special to me because my grandpa, the landscape artist, worked on the design of the downtown area.

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We started our day at the beach by wandering through the downtown area with all of the cute shops. My favorites are the Blueberry Store where you can buy products made from locally grown blueberries and the pet store, Decadent Dogs. After wandering through a few stores we stopped for lunch at Clementine’s.

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Clementine’s usually has a line out the door and is a must for any trip to South Haven! Because it was a Monday we were able to get seated right away! I got the Outlaw steak and a strawberry daiquiri. This is my usual Clementine’s order.

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After lunch, Brett and I headed for the antique stores. We love to go hunting for antiques! My favorite thing to collect are tea cups and dishes of any kind. I’m lucky to have a set of china from my grandma but I still love collecting pieces of china here and there. Brett collects aviation related items and vintage signs. Brett was able to find an aviation sign for our outdoor bar and some vintage beer labels for our basement.

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We grabbed some boba smoothies and headed for the beach! It was the perfect summer day in Michigan, 81 degrees and sunny! The beach was pretty packed for a Monday but we were able to find a parking spot right away! We set up camp near the water and I read while Brett napped. We did a bit of swimming and hanging out on the sand bar.

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Being at the beach always makes me sleepy so after a couple of hours we packed up. Before heading home we made sure to stop at Sherman’s Ice Cream! Sherman’s is a must for any South Haven adventure! My favorite ice cream flavor is Chocomania.

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We had a great beach day and it definitely reminded me that I need to make more time to spend with Brett. We spend a ton of time with family and friends but rarely make time for just the two of us unless we are traveling. I loved spending the day with him!

If you are ever visiting Michigan, I would highly recommend a day in South Haven! We barely scratched the surface of all of the great things to do in this adorable beach town!

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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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Saying Goodbye

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Saying goodbye is never easy, especially when you don’t know when goodbye is coming.

I’ve mentioned Brett’s grandparents many times in travel posts and quarterly goals. His grandma and grandpa moved to Florida 20ish years ago. Brett and I made a point to go down and visit them at least once a year and they became another set of grandparents for me to love.

Grandma Emma passed away on November 30th, 2017. She was a fierce woman who stood strong for everything she believed in. I loved her stories about all the places they traveled, her brutal honesty, and her love for her family. We’d sit on the couch in the Florida room for hours and just chat about anything and everything.

Emma made the best homemade chocolate frosting, french toast, and roast. Each visit she’d welcome us with a homemade cake and a hot dinner. We shared a love for travel, books, music, and the Bailey family. The first time I met her she dragged me to her closet and had me try of dozens of Mardi Gras beads. I really cherish the time we had together.

Grandpa Ed passed away on July 15th, 2019. This loss hit me really hard. He was a WWII veteran, Purple Heart recipient, and an amazing story teller. He was stubborn, strong, and had a great sense of humor. He looked so much like Brett. Ed passed away suddenly and at 97 years old it was still unexpected.

Ed is the reason why Brett loves airshows and aviation as much as he does. He’s also the reason why Brett has so much respect for our military and our country. He taught Brett to love history and introduced him to many of his favorite movies. Ed was a hero and I feel honored to have known him. My last words to him were “see you soon” and I know I’ll see him again one day.

We will be traveling down to Florida soon to celebrate Ed’s life with our family. He will be missed but Brett and I will make sure to pass on his legacy to our future children and grandchildren. The sacrifices he made for us will not be forgotten.

This week has been hard (and it’s only Tuesday!) but I feel good knowing that Emma and Ed have been reunited. I aspire to have 70+ years of marriage and to travel the world like they did.

See you later, Ed and Emma!

“After all, to the well organized mind, death is but the next greatest adventure.” – J.K Rowling

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Photo by Chandler Cruttenden on Unsplash

May According to my iPhone

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May was a super busy month for me! It wasn’t very memorable and slightly boring though. Mostly work, family time, dog walks, and time at the lake. Here’s a quick recap of what my life looked like in May.

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Let’s start with the world’s happiest dog, Oscar! We celebrated his first gotcha day in May. This means that one year ago we adopted Oscar from the animal shelter and brought his home to join our family. You can read his full adoption story here. It was really important to both Brett and I that we rescue a dog and give them a good life after a not so great start. I think we have succeeded so far!

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May was dreary and rainy for the most part but we still had some good times at the lake! I’m ready for summer!

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May was the last week of my work’s walking challenge. Brett, Oscar, and I walked pretty much every day around are neighborhood. My boys are so cute! ❤

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It was beautiful a beautiful spring in Michigan (when it wasn’t raining)! I love seeing everything come to life after a long winter.

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Oscar isn’t a fan of swimming but he loves sitting on the dock! We enjoyed our first real lake day on Memorial Day!

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My grandparent’s got a new boat this year and we took it on it’s maiden voyage on Memorial Day! Such a fun day with family!

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Here’s a quick look at our upstairs guest bedroom. I never fully decorated it when we moved in so I’m finally getting around to making it feel like a welcoming part of our home. Here’s a before and hopefully I’ll have an after soon! It’s a huge space because it’s a converted attic so it’s the length of our house. The old owners used it as their master bedroom.

Did you do anything fun in May? What are you looking forward to in June?

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I Needed A Break

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I took a week off of blogging and nothing bad happened.

I’ve been in a bit of a writing slump lately. It’s been an endless cycle of the comparison game and I’ve just felt like there’s no reason for me to keep writing.

I opened my laptop several times to start writing but I couldn’t find the words. I have drafts that I could have easily set to publish but none of them seemed right either. I needed a week to recharge, regroup, and find some new inspiration so that’s what I did.

Blogging is supposed to be a fun, creative outlet to get me outside of my comfort zone and de-stress. Sometimes it becomes the source of my stress and that’s when I know that I need a break.

I have a lot of big things happening in June. I’m throwing a baby shower for my sister in law, traveling to meet up with some friends, and the start of our busy airshow season. All of these things are creating a lot of stress even though I’m excited for them. As always, just trying to take things day by day.

How do you feel about taking a break from blogging?

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Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

 

5 Things I’ve Learned After 5 Years of Blogging

5 things I've learned in 5 years of blogging

I am still in shock that I’ve been writing Life of Hayley for 5 years! This has been such a fun adventure and I hope to continue blogging for the foreseeable future.

One question I get asked is what are the things I have learned about blogging over the years. The blogging community is changing rapidly and it’s hard to keep up with all of the new influencers popping up every single day. I try not to take blogging too seriously which has helped me continue to love writing after all this time.

Here are five things that I have learned in my five years as a blogger:

  1. Not everyone needs or wants to be a professional blogger. I have no real desire to blog full time right now. I really enjoy having Life of Hayley be my hobby and because it’s not my full time job it’s okay if from time to time I need a break from it. If blogging was my full time job I would have to create a content calendar and stick to it. Some of my favorite posts are the random ones that I wrote when I was feeling inspired.
  2. The more time you put into your blog the more you get out of it. I have found that the more time and energy I put into a post the more views and comments it gets. The more I post the better my blog does but it’s important to remember that it’s not all about your blog stats! I blog because I love to and not because I like to see how many people are reading each day. I’d rather have one meaningful comment than one million page views.
  3. Being able to look back at your life is pretty cool. I’m terrible at keeping a journal and my memory isn’t the best. Being able to look back at blog posts over the last five years is really cool. I have been able to document my life and can see how much I have changed and how far I have come. I can be proud of my journey.
  4. You don’t have to be a web designer to have a nice blog design. When I was in high school I wanted to be a web designer so I took all of the web design/coding classes that my school had to offer. I am lucky to have a small amount of knowledge about web design but for the most part you really don’t have to have any prior knowledge to start a blog. WordPress is great because it has a ton of free themes and it’s easy to watch Youtube tutorials if you want to customize anything.
  5. Making connections is the best part of blogging. YOU are the reason I keep writing! All of my blogging friends and this community is what inspires me to keep telling my story. I love sharing my journey but I also love reading about your journey too.

What are your best blogging tips?

Lifestyle Blog, Life of Hayley

Photo by Arnel Hasanovic on Unsplash