4 Years Later: A Reflection on Study Abroad

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January 24, 2015 was a day that changed my life forever.

In 2011 I visited London for the first time on a band trip. It was love at first sight and I immediately felt like I was at home in the city. We left London for Paris after just a couple of days but I told my friends that I would be back in a few years to Study Abroad.

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Studying abroad scared me to death even though it was something I knew that I had to do in my heart and soul. It was something I had wrestled over doing for years but knew that I would be regret it if I didn’t. So I packed my bags, gave notice to my job, and left.

When I said goodbye to my mom, dad, sister, and Brett at the airport I tried to stay strong. But the moment I got through security I completely lost it and sobbed all the way to my departure gate. Luckily enough, I was traveling with a girl from my home university who would end up being my roommate in London. She showed me true kindness that day and I’m really grateful that I had her there with me.

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I’ll never forget the moment I saw Regent’s University for the first time. I had studied pictures, maps, and brochures for months but nothing prepared me for what I saw when I arrived. The dorms were like something out of a Harry Potter movie. The university itself was small but beautiful.

Easter Break in Germany // Study Abroad London // Travel // www.lifeofhayley.com

I made friends life-long friends at orientation that week and found myself exploring the city with my classmates. It was freeing.

My family likes to joke that I was born old. I’m a homebody and I always tend to take care of others before myself. I started working at 17 and took that job very seriously. In college I worked long hours and went to class full time in order to graduate in 4 years. Studying abroad was my chance to be selfish. To worry only about my happiness and to finally take some time off of work and act my age.

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Easter Break in Germany // Study Abroad London // Travel // www.lifeofhayley.com

Easter Break in Germany // Study Abroad London // Travel // www.lifeofhayley.comEaster Break in Germany // Study Abroad London // Travel // www.lifeofhayley.com

I felt like a brand new person. I was the “fun” friend for once in my life. One of my friends even called me “irresponsible” which at first upset me but looking back I’m so happy that I got to not be the responsible one for the first time. I had a great group of girls to hang out with. We traveled on weekends and during Easter break. We had lunch together everyday and they really seemed to get me.

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Sometimes I wish I could go back. On our honeymoon in 2017 we went to London and visited Regent’s. I e-mailed a few weeks before to get visitors passes for campus so that I could officially show Brett around. We sat in the library, walked through the refectory, and went by every classroom that I had classes in. We walked through the park and admired the grounds in the summer. But something was missing.

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London will always be my favorite place to visit. It will always be the home of some of my happiest memories. It will always be the place where I met my best group of friends. And it will always be the place where Brett asked me to spend the rest of my life with him.

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Our honeymoon showed me that it’s okay to move on. London will always be waiting for me and my friends will always be just a WhatsApp message away. Things have changed but I’m still grateful that I got to be the “fun” friend for a few months. I really found myself when I was in London and discovered who I am as a person. But London is no longer my home. My home is now with Brett and it’s time to make new memories.

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4 years ago I took a giant leap of faith when I stepped aboard an airplane flying from Chicago to London. That terrifying decision was one of the best decisions that I have ever made. Everyday I am grateful that I had the experience to meet friends from all over the world. And I am SO glad that I had this blog to document all of the moments of my time in London. I love looking back on my study abroad posts.

Thanks so much for reading!

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5 Years of Blogging!

5 Years of Blogging

In November Life of Hayley turned 5! Since then I have been struggling on how to properly commemorate this very special occasion. 

Let me start out by saying that I began this blog right after my 20th birthday as a way to document the 25 things I wanted to accomplish before turning 25. At the time I was a sophomore in college and felt incredibly lost about what to do with my life. I felt unaccomplished and lonely. I had started a blog the year before for my freshman English class so the thought of writing had been in my head for some time. My 20th birthday was the perfect starting point for a lifestyle blog.

In the beginning I wrote about whatever I wanted and it was never about the views, likes, or comments. When I studied abroad in London I posted once a week and my blog gained a small following. I really loved the interaction with fellow bloggers and fell in love with the community. My senior year of college I took an internet marketing class that forced me to once again start a new blog. I spent all my time and energy on getting traffic to that blog. My grade was based on the number of followers, likes, and comments. I started to hate blogging when I no longer felt joy in interacting and instead found myself fixated on the stats. After I graduated from college I took almost a full year off of blogging and honestly thought that I would never blog again. 

My current job is what inspired me to open my laptop and start writing. I work in finance so there’s very little creativity in my normal day-to-day activities. I found myself wanting to write again about getting married and life after college. My first post was a challenge to write but after that I got back into the swing of things. 

My life has changed greatly since the day I sat in my dorm room and began writing. Life of Hayley has developed into something that I’m really proud of. This community has supported me during some of the hardest moments of my life and for that I am grateful. I hope 5 years from now I’ll be around to reflect on my 10 years of blogging.

Thanks so much for reading!

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Five On Friday #2

Weekend - London Airshow

Happy Friday!!

I had a great response to my first Five On Friday post so I thought I would share another for this upcoming weekend.

  1. I took a half day at work today so I will be leaving work around 1 to drive to Canada with Brett. His sister, Mallory, lives near London so of course we had to visit her for the London Airshow.
  2. This is our fourth (and final) weekend in a row at an Airshow. I miss my bed! Air Show season is wrapping up and I can’t wait for some relaxing weekends at home.
  3. I will be reading The Boy Most Likely To by Huntley Fitzpatrick. I read My Life Next Door by Fitzpatrick last weekend and it was really good. The Boy Most Likely To continues on with some of the same characters and I am so excited to read it!
  4. Sunday we will be relaxing with Mallory and her boyfriend, Matt. Mallory lived in Michigan when I first met Brett so we are pretty close and I am really excited to spend some time with her. It’s been a year since I last visited!
  5. I also took Monday off work which means that Brett and I can have a pretty relaxing travel day back to Michigan. I hate feeling rushed while driving so I’m happy to have Monday off work!

I’d love to hear what you are up to this weekend!

Thanks for reading!

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Image via Unsplash

 

Our First Wedding Anniversary

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Today is the day! One year ago I was at the hair salon getting my makeup and hair done for our wedding. I was dressed in my getting ready robe and surrounded by my friends. We drank mimosas and ate bagels and fruit on the back deck of the salon. I felt a little anxious but mostly excited and SO ready to start the day.

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Meanwhile, Brett was back at our apartment with his friends. He won’t admit it but he was a little anxious too. He forgot his vows so our brother in law had to go back and grab them. Brett, the groomsmen, and my dad met at the venue in the morning to setup the centerpieces and other décor. They then went back to my parent’s house for lunch.

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I can’t believe it’s already been a year. I can still remember exactly how I felt during each moment of our day. I hope we never lose the newlywed feeling or forget how much we loved each other on this day.

 

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Our first year of marriage was full of changes. We lost Brett’s Grandma Emma in December which was devastating for both of us. We went to many, many airshows where Brett took on new roles such as Assistant Air Boss. Brett started a new job in event planning and has really excelled! We bought our first house and have loved getting settled in it. We traveled to London, Florida, New York, and many other places. We adopted Oscar and settled into life as a family of four.

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Marriage has been easy so far but I know it won’t always be that way. Brett and I are lucky because we are really good friends in addition to being husband and wife. I hope when it gets tough we can remember the love we felt on our wedding day and continue to fight for each other. I love him more today than I did on our wedding day and I know that love will keep growing.

It’s been a great year and I am looking forward to many more!

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My Migraine Story

 

Chronic Migraines, Chronic Headaches, My Migraine Story, Migraine Treatments

Hey, hey.

It’s me, back with one of the most personal posts I have ever shared on the internet.

It’s no secret that I have been living with daily headaches and chronic migraines. I have often shared my struggles with balancing life and work with the constant pain. I still don’t have any answers and I may never receive them but I thought I’d share my story because I know that I am not the only one struggling.

I can remember having headaches as a pre-teen but they never lasted that long. My junior year in high school was when my headaches started to become a routine problem but I was able to take an ibprofen and be fine to go about my day.

My mom, sister, and I got into a car accident that same year. My head went through the passenger side window and I still can’t remember the accident. I have a brief memory of waking up in the ambulance but I mostly just remember waking up at the hospital.

After the car accident, I continued to have headaches but they started to get a little stronger. I also started to get migraines that made me sick to my stomach. Senior year was when they became an almost constant problem. My eyesight started getting blurry and it was painful to wake up in the morning. My brain felt like it was pressing up against my skull at all times.

College was when I started to see a neurologist. My headaches had become constant and I was getting migraines a couple of times per month. I was living in the noisy dorms and trying to balance 5 classes, a part-time job, and a minimal social life. It was not how I imagined college to be. For the first time, I was prescribed something for the pain. We discovered early on that I have a bad reaction to most of the commonly used medicines for headache pain. My stomach could not seem to handle it.

I went to London and hoped for the best. My headaches followed me and I spent more time then I want to admit in bed with the blankets covering my eyes. I had to say no to experiences with my friends and missed many of our lunch time adventures. I vowed to make a change when I got home. I didn’t want to keep missing out on things due to my headaches.

Not much changed when I got home and I can’t exactly pinpoint the moment where my headaches started to rule over me. I needed to take ibprofen three times a day in order to function. My head hurt the worst in the morning when I first woke up and at night when I was trying to sleep. The pain would wake me up from a deep sleep. I started to become dependent on ibprofen because it was the only thing that made me feel normal, if only for a few hours.

Now I understand that my constant intake of ibprofen actually began to cause rebound headaches. My body became dependent on it and it made my headaches even worse. I actually felt like I couldn’t function without it. But what was I to do? I was a full time student and almost full time employee at a job where I couldn’t just call off work if I didn’t feel well. It was a never ending cycle.

I graduated in April 2016 and began looking for a full time job in my field. I spent a lot of time in bed in between working and applying for jobs. I was exhausted and didn’t take care of myself. I stopped taking the preventative medicine that my doctor had given to me because it wasn’t working and I felt hopeless.

Fast forward to me accepting my current position and being thrown into a field that I I knew very little about. I thought that college had prepared me for a corporate job but I was very wrong and very out of my element. I was depressed and sick. I started seeing my neurologist again and we discussed the lifestyle changes that I would need to make in order to start feeling better.

It’s been a year and a half and very little progress has been made. I have a headache every single day and am almost constantly nauseous. I struggled a lot in the beginning of my career because the pain made me feel really self conscious and I didn’t want my new co-workers to know my problems. But now they know and understand that sometimes I need to sit in my corner quietly and just work. I try to miss as few days as possible at work but my boss is very understanding if I need to take a break.

So, that’s where I am at. Many years and no answers. I should mention that my mom and grandma both have these headaches so the doctors know that it is genetic. I am also consulting a neurologist when taking medications. It is very important to speak to a medical professional when taking any sort of medication.

I am trying to stay hopeful that my neurologist will find something to help me. At my last visit we discussed trying physical and massage therapy.  I start physical therapy this week and am super hopeful that it will help! And now you know that if I ever go a long time without blogging it is most likely due to having a bad headache week.

Let me know if you have any recommendations! I might write a post on all my tips and tricks for dealing with headaches or migraines.

Thanks so much for reading!

Lifestyle Blog, Life of Hayley

 

Image via Unsplash

The Royal Wedding With The Royal We

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Hey there!

I am back with another book review for all of my bookworm friends out there. You may or may not already know that reading is one of my all time favorite pastimes. If I find a book that I really like I will not put it down until it’s finished.

My favorite book series of all time is Harry Potter. I thought I would never find another book that I could read multiple times without getting bored until I found The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan. These two hilarious ladies run the website Go Fug Yourself. Heather and Jessica are actually in London right now to celebrate the Royal Wedding!

Brett bought me this book for Christmas a couple of years ago and I have read it at least 6 times since then. This is a big book but I still got through it in a little over one day because I could not put it down. After I finished it the first time I immediately read it again because it was just that good. I also took it on our honeymoon in London and loved visiting many of the places in the book. We even went to Windsor Castle and walked through the chapel where Meghan and Harry are getting married. So cool!

With the Royal Wedding coming up on Saturday (or today if you’re in the UK!) it is the perfect time to dig into this book that is based very loosely on Prince William and Kate Middleton’s relationship. I know that I will be re-reading The Royal We in celebration! I may or may not be drinking a cup of tea in my Royal Wedding cup as well (Homegoods for the win!)

The Royal Wedding, Royal We, Meghan Markle, Prince Harry


The Royal We
by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

American Bex Porter was never one for fairy tales. Her twin sister Lacey was always the romantic, the one who daydreamed of being a princess. But it’s adventure-seeking Bex who goes to Oxford and meets dreamy Nick across the hall – and Bex who finds herself accidentally in love with the heir to the British throne.

Nick is wonderful, but he comes with unimaginable baggage: a complicated family, hysterical tabloids tracking his every move, and a public that expected its future king to marry a Brit. On the eve of the most talked-about wedding of the century, Bex looks back on how much she’s had to give up for true love… and exactly whose heart she may yet have to break

 

Bex Porter is an American studying abroad in England who meets and eventually falls in love with the boy across the hall, Nick. This book follows the story of Bex and Nick from the moment they met to their wedding day. If they make it to the wedding that is. 😉

The words flow easily and make this story feel so real. I am still hoping for a sequel! You can tell that Heather and Jessica put a ton of research into this book.

This book is not exactly a true story like I mentioned before. But it does shed a lot of light on customs of the Royal Family and life in England. I studied abroad in London and could relate to many of Bex’s feelings from the first few chapters. Missing home, missing my sister, not quite understanding all of the British customs, etc.

Ever since I read this book I feel like I have a different perspective when it comes to Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle. They are always in the spotlight and I can’t even imagine how hard it is to constantly be criticized and talked about. I have a lot of respect for these two women.

It also makes me think about the Royal Wedding. I can’t imagine how much pressure is on Meghan as she prepares for her wedding day. I will be sending lots of positive thoughts her way and hope that she can enjoy her day with Prince Harry!

I honestly love this book so much and would go as far to call it my favorite book! I keep looking for other like it but none even come close.

What are your favorite books? Will you be celebrating the Royal Wedding?

Thanks so much for reading!

 
Lifestyle Blog, Life of Hayley

Friday Introductions

 

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Hey friends!

Since I re-launched my blog in late 2017 after taking a year long break I figured now would be a great time to introduce myself to my new and old followers.

For starters, my name is Hayley, hence Life of Hayley. If I had to categorize my blog I would say that it is a “Lifestyle Blog”. I love to share my favorite products, books, travel, and most recently, wedding planning. Not only do I love blogging, but I also love reading other people’s blogs. I am also looking for new bloggers to follow!

I began this blog in November 2013 right when I was turning 20 as a way to document all of the things I wanted to accomplish before turning 25. It’s been four years and I am so proud with how far I have come! I will be 25 next fall and I feel more than ready. I have accomplished far more than I ever thought possible and am in love with the way my life is turning out.

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My biggest accomplishment was studying abroad in London in 2015. I was SO scared to move to London for a semester but it turned out to be the best decision. I made life-long friends and cherish the memories that I made along the way. London will always feel like home!

I graduated from college in April 2016 with a Bachelor of Business Administration. I majored in Electronic Business Marketing and minored in General and International Business. After I graduated, I began looking for a full-time job in my field. I ended up accepting a position at a financial company in September 2016. I expected to like the job but never expected to fall in love with it! I love my company, my co-workers, and the work that I am doing every day. I really feel like I am making an impact on my community and our client’s lives.

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On August 19th, 2017 I married my boyfriend of six years, Brett. Our wedding day went by so quickly but it turned out better than we could have ever imagined! We got married at a Lake where I spent most of my summers growing up. We were surronded with all of our favorite people; our friends, family, and co-workers. Everyone who joined us had made an impact on our lives in some way. It was so special to start our married lives with all of the people who we love the most.

Brett and I went on a two week Honeymoon in London directly following the wedding. It was just like coming home. Brett proposed to me in London so the city holds a special place in both of our hearts.

Now I am just enjoying life with Brett and our cat, Lucy. We live in a cute little apartment and love spending time with our friends playing trivia or old PS2 games. I love tea, The Crown, Harry Potter, and reading. I’m an introvert who greatly values my alone time. I am also a Target addict and a wannabe interior designer.

Welcome to my little corner of the internet. I hope you stay awhile!

 

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