Falling In Love With Traverse City, MI

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Hey friends!

For those of you who don’t know, I live in the beautiful state of Michigan. Michigan is home of the Great Lakes, Detroit Tigers, Verner’s, Bell’s Brewery, and the most beautiful lakeside towns you can imagine. I love it here!

Last weekend we had the privilege to travel to Traverse City, Michigan for the wedding of one of Brett’s high school friends. I have been looking forward to this trip for months because I love weddings and I haven’t been to Traverse City since middle school. I have been dying to see this area of Michigan in the fall!

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We rented an airbnb on Lake Leelanau for the weekend with a group of friends and had a blast. The house was right on the lake so every morning we woke up to an amazing view. The weather wasn’t ideal but we still managed to have a great time!

We arrived on Friday at about 8 pm and headed straight downtown to meet up with friends at the Rare Bird. The wedding party came out to meet us after the rehearsal dinner which was a lot of fun. After a couple margaritas we headed to the airbnb for a night of rock band, tequila shots, and drinking games. I am the boring professional sober person of the group mostly because alcohol is a trigger for my migraines so I enjoyed watching the group.

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We had a late start Saturday morning and didn’t roll out of the house until after 11. I spent some time by the lake while the house was still waking up and got to see the rowing team practice. After everyone was up and around we headed to lunch at Martha’s in Suttons Bay.

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After our lunch we drove to Black Star Farms for a little wine tasting. It was $7 for 5 tastings and you got to keep your glass. I wasn’t planning on drinking but I’ve never gone wine tasting before so I didn’t want to miss out on the experience.

Our bartender was really knowledgeable and was able to share a lot about the wines that we were trying. As someone who doesn’t drink a lot I really appreciated her attention to detail! I tried 5 sweet wines and my favorite was the late harvest Riesling!

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Once we had finished our tastings we headed out to the farm to have a quick look around. There was a wedding being setup and I can imagine that it was a beautiful wedding just based on the venue! Driving into the winery is a whole hilltop was filled with grapes. There are horses and sheep in pastures on the property and beautiful barns and buildings. It was super picturesque.

I was in dire need of a nap after the wine tasting so we headed to the airbnb for a quick nap before the wedding. I fell asleep quickly and woke up about 30 minutes later to start getting ready for the wedding.  I found my dress last minute a Kohl’s but ended up really liking it! I’m still having a hard time dressing my body after gaining weight but it’s starting to get a tiny bit easier.

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The wedding took place at Timberlee Hills which is a tubing resort in Traverse City. The ceremony was outside and I almost froze to death in the 50 degree chill. Thankfully, the ceremony was short but oh so sweet. I have never seen the groom so happy and the bride was beautiful!

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The reception was a lot of fun. I was the designated driver so I had a good time watching the boys dance and spill their beers all over the floor.  It was a great wedding and I wish the bride and groom and lifetime of love and happiness.

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We had to be out of the airbnb by 11 on Sunday morning so we woke up, showered, and headed back to Traverse City for breakfast. It was hard to leave the amazing airbnb behind but we have already made plans to come back in the summer when one of our friends graduates.

After breakfast at the Blue Heron 2 Café & Bakery we started the 3 hour journey home. I had a great time in Traverse City and wish that we could have stayed longer! Hopefully we will be back soon!

Have you ever been to Traverse City?

Thanks for reading!

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P.S. Sorry for the crappy iPhone pictures! I’m hoping to get a new phone soon.

 

 

 

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 surrounded 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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Introducing Our Wedding Series

Wedding Planning Series - Planning Your Wedding, Step-By-Step Guide

 

Hey there!

I have been doing some serious blog post planning. 2018 is going to be a great year for Life of Hayley! I took a long look at the things I am interested in and the first thing that came to my mind was wedding planning.

Since wedding planning is still so fresh in my mind I thought I would do a blog series about all things wedding! I know not everyone is interested in this topic so I will be sure to post about a lot of other things too.

For this wedding series, I am thinking about breaking the posts up into two different categories:

 

  1. Wedding Planning. I spent SO much time on Pinterest and Google researching wedding planning as well as attending various wedding fairs. I figured that it would be fun to share some of my research in addition to my experiences during the wedding planning process. Posts could include dress shopping for the Bride and Bridesmaids, planning the ceremony (we wrote our ceremony ourselves), creating a wedding playlist, creating a guest list, etc.
  2. Our Wedding. I thought it would be fun to share all of the little moments leading up to our wedding in addition to our wedding day and honeymoon. The week leading up to our wedding was so much fun! I loved seeing everything come together and having all of our friends and family come to town to celebrate us. Maybe Brides-To-Be will be interested in reading about our wedding experiences but these posts will also be great for Brett and I to look back on one day.

 

Please let me know if there’s anything you would like me to talk about during this wedding series! I would love to know if you have any questions or concerns related to wedding planning. Brett and I were engaged for over two years so I had a lot of time to research wedding planning.

Thanks so much for reading and please stay tuned for more posts coming up soon!

 

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Book Review – I Will Always Write Back: How One Letter Changed Two Lives

I Will Always Write Back Book Review by Caitlin Alfirenka & Martin Ganda

 

Hey friends,

I am back with my first book review of 2018! One of my New Years resolutions is to read more so I figured I’d start out the year with a review of my favorite book of 2017, I will Always Write Back: How One Letter Changed Two Lives. I can honestly say that this book changed my way of thinking and made me reflect on the changes that I can make in order to give back to my community and make an impact.

This book was a recommendation on one of Jansen’s (Everyday Reading) blog posts. I was initially drawn to the book because one of my co-workers is from Zimbabwe and I have always enjoyed hearing his stories about growing up. He talked about the reason he went into Finance was because of the Financial crisis that occurred while he was growing up in Zimbabwe. He came to America to learn all he could with the goal of going home one day and using his experiences in finance to make a positive impact. This book goes into detail about the same Financial crisis that my co-worker experienced.

 

I will Always Write Back by Caitlin Alfirenka & Martin Ganda

 

I Will Always Write Back: How One Letter Changed Two Lives by Martin Ganda and Caitlin Alifirenka with Liz Welch

 

The New York Times bestselling true story of an all-American girl and a boy from Zimbabwe and the letter that changed both of their lives forever.

It started as an assignment. Everyone in Caitlin’s class wrote to an unknown student somewhere in a distant place.

Martin was lucky to even receive a pen-pal letter. There were only ten letters, and fifty kids in his class. But he was the top student, so he got the first one.

That letter was the beginning of a correspondence that spanned six years and changed two lives.

In this compelling dual memoir, Caitlin and Martin recount how they became best friends –and better people–through their long-distance exchange. Their story will inspire you to look beyond your own life and wonder about the world at large and your place in it.

 

Martin was from a small village in Zimbabwe. He greatly valued his education but his family struggled to pay for his schooling. Caitlin was your normal 12 year old from Pennsylvania. Her troubles included boys, clothes, and friends. They started writing letters to each other because of a school assignment.

It took a while for Caitlin to realize just how hard Martin’s life was becoming. His worries were vastly different than his. She would send gifts, $20 here and there, that would feed Martin’s family and send him to school. The books spans years and details the daily struggles, and what Martin had to overcome in order to get his education and take care of his family.

I read this whole book in under 24 hours. I could not put it down and I could not go to sleep until I knew that everything was okay. “Wow” is the only word that comes to mind when I think about the experience I had while reading. It was thought provoking, emotional, and I was honestly cheering Caitlin and Martin on as I read. I felt invested in the outcome of the book.

As an American, I know I am lucky. I am lucky to have grown up with a roof over my head, food in the cupboards, two parents with jobs, and a free public education. It is very easy to take all of these things for granted. We see the news and hear about the troubling times in other countries but we may never have to directly deal with any of these issues. This book puts everything into prospective.

I could say so much more but I will just leave you with this:

One letter changed Caitlin and Martin’s life. One book changed mine.

As always, thanks so much for reading!

 

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