How We Can Afford to Travel

How We Can Afford to Travel

Why does traveling have to be so expensive? And why do I love it so much?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, there’s just something about traveling that brings out the best in me! I feel alive, happy, and ready to take on the world! That’s why Brett and I make a point to save up for our next adventures.

How can we afford to travel as often as we do?

  1. We have a travel fund. I work in finance and I’m a big advocate for having a budget and saving for items you want to purchase or trips you want to take. For that reason, Brett and I always have a travel fund and are saving for our next trip. We put a percentage of our paychecks into this account and save it up until we are ready to go on our next adventure. Even if we aren’t currently planning a trip we are still putting money away for travel.
  2. We make travel a priority. It’s super easy to get caught up in all of the other things life throws your way. Brett and I make traveling a priority. In 2019 we weren’t able to plan a big Europe trip like we had hoped but we still set aside time to travel to places in the United States instead. This way we saved money but were still able to visit some new places and make memories together.
  3. We travel on a budget. When we go on a trip we aren’t staying in the fanciest hotels or splurging on new clothes and accessories for our travels. During our planning process we are mapping out all possibilities of places to stay, eat, visit, etc. We set a budget and stick to it. I do like to splurge for once in a lifetime opportunities but we always plan for those ahead of time and make room in the budget.
  4. We compromise. Planning a trip with another person can be difficult. Brett and I take turns picking the places we want to go. I planned our Europe trip in 2018 so he’s planning our 2020 trip. We can’t go everywhere at once so we compromise and take turns. Luckily, we both want to go to many of the same places so this has been pretty easy!
  5. Brett’s Job. We have been incredibly blessed by Brett’s current job for an airline. This allows us to travel at a very discounted rate but we haven’t always had this perk and have traveled many times without it. Brett’s job has allowed us to go on a few trips that we wouldn’t have normally been able to go on without spending more time saving our money. We are super grateful and don’t take this blessing lightly. We know that we won’t have these opportunities for long so we always try to make the most of it! I do want to stress that it is possible to travel without breaking the bank even without these flight benefits!

It’s not always easy, but we are determined to travel as much as possible before we have children. Traveling is one of our top priorities right now and I can only imagine how much that will change in the next few years. For now, I’m constantly on Pinterest planning our next adventure.

Do you have any budgeting tips for traveling?

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Photo by Frank Vex on Unsplash

 

I Just Want to Travel

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I love to travel. There’s just something so amazing about exploring a new place, culture, way of life, that really makes me feel alive. I love wandering around new cities and getting lost. I love listening to people speak different languages and wondering what they are saying.

Every year my vacation days refresh and I begin to plan all of the things I want to do and see. My work is pretty good about vacation time but it never seems to be enough for me. There’s a whole world out there that I want to explore!

Brett also loves to travel so we talk constantly about the next places on our bucketlist. In 2020 we really want to visit Amsterdam and Prague but I’d love to sneak in a few days in London. We didn’t plan a big trip in 2019 because we traveled to Florida, Arizona, Oregon, and Florida again. I think we will visit Massachusetts or New Hampshire in the fall though!

Travel is something that is always on my heart and mind. I visited Europe for the first time in 2011 and became addicted to exploring new places. There are so many places that I haven’t been and I’m looking forward to visiting all of them!

Do you love to travel?

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Photo by Karly Santiago on Unsplash

 

 

2019: Second Quarter Goals Recap

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In April I posted my second quarter goals with the hopes of accomplishing everything on my list. I think I did a pretty good job considering that Q2 flew right by! I’m starting to think that I have a terrible sense of time because I blink and it’s the end of the quarter.

  1. Create a self-care routine. I’ve come to the conclusion that self-care is different for everyone. I’m not really the bath and face mask type even though I really want to be. I spent Q2 creating a non-stressful nighttime routine including a time to be in bed every night. I took melotonin so that I could sleep better and started doing at home workouts and nightly walks. All of these things made me feel like I was taking more time for myself instead of being so stressed out all of the time.
  2. Learn two new recipes to add to our dinner rotation. Done and done. I wanted to include learning how to cook a ham for Easter in this but decided that I should learn something else. 🙂 I learned how to make crack chicken in the crockpot and lemon chicken with feta and garlic asparagus. Pretty proud of myself since I despise cooking.
  3. Start planning out our summer schedule. I hate coordinating my busy summer schedule with Brett’s even busier summer schedule. I feel like I never get to see him and that’s why I wanted to prioritize our schedules this summer. So far everything has gone well and both of our schedules are mapped out.
  4. Finish my spring cleaning projects. I didn’t get everything done on my list but I do feel really good about the progress I’ve made organizing our house. The basement and storage room still need help but I think that the rest of the house is looking really good! We even got around to power washing the house and cleaning the gutters.
  5. Get a quote to have our driveway re-done. We got the quote and it’s pretty expensive. We bought our house at the top of the market so we decided that it’s probably best to only do one big house project. We’d rather spend the money on a new bathroom instead of getting the driveway re-done.
  6. Go shopping and do a spring wardrobe refresh! I pretty much failed at this. I was able to buy a couple new pairs of work pants and some shorts and tops. But I didn’t go through my closet and donate/sell the clothes I’m not using. I really do need to buy some more clothes but I’m trying to be extremely picky.

Q2 was really great and I’m looking forward to a busy and rewarding Q3! I’ll be posting my Q3 goals soon so be on the lookout for those.

How was the first half of 2019 for you?

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Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash

Five on Friday #9

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Congratulations! You made it to Friday!

It’s been an interesting week. I was really sick last weekend with a nasty cold and it’s hung around pretty much all week. I feel better but still not 100% like myself.

  1. A quick migraine update for those who have followed my journey so far. Things haven’t been great. I’ve head a few more migraines than normal and they are really intense and painful. My neurologist will be upping my medication dosage next month so I’m hoping that will help. For now I’m just taking things day by day.
  2. I’m going to my cousin’s baby shower on Saturday with my mom and grandma. She announced her pregnancy on Christmas and we are very excited to celebrate the baby’s upcoming arrival as a family.
  3. On Sunday we are celebrating Mother’s Day at my grandparent’s house. It’ll be nice to have two family days in a row this weekend! Are you celebrating Mother’s Day this weekend?
  4. I’ve been reading Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell on the Kindle app and I love it so far! I’ve read a lot of mixed reviews on it so I put off reading it because I thought I wouldn’t like it. But so far so good. Have you read any good books lately?
  5. I have been feeling really boring lately. Brett has so many things he’s interested in but I feel like my interests are only work, my dog, and blogging. I want to find something else that I’m passionate about.

Do you have any big plans this weekend?

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Photo by Nicole Honeywill on Unsplash

2019: Second Quarter Goals

Setting goals for 2019

I always enjoy starting a new quarter. Doing quarterly goals really challenges me to accomplish my goal list in a timely fashion. I feel like I accomplish way more this way! I can’t believe that we are already a quarter of the way through 2019! I really enjoyed Q1 and am looking forward to a productive and fun Q2.

In case you are new to Life of Hayley, every quarter I set a few new goals for myself. I do this instead of your typical New Years Resolutions and find myself actually accomplishing the goals I set for myself instead of getting to December and realizing I never did anything. This also allows me to set goals throughout the year that are relevant and specific to the time of year.

I hope this inspires you to set some quarterly goals of your own!

  1. Create a self-care routine. I am so bad at self-care. It always feels like such a waste of time when I have a million other important things that need my attention. This quarter I want to focus on myself and creating a self-care routine that I enjoy.
  2. Learn two new recipes to add to our dinner rotation. I hate cooking and am usually happy to eat the same things over and over again. But I have been doing the same dinner rotations for over two years now and I really need to switch things up. I have several cookbooks and I love Pinterest so I’m sure it will be easy to find two new recipes to try!
  3. Start planning out our summer schedule. Summers are always crazy for us! Brett is a huge airshow fan and helps organize a couple in our area. Pretty much every weekend in the summer is spent at airshows. I also want to be able to spend time with family and friends too which has been difficult in the past. We have decided that I’m going to step away from the airshows this year and let Brett go to most of them alone. This means that we will have to carefully plan our time so we still have some weekends together.
  4. Finish my spring cleaning projects. I love organizing my house and spring feels like the perfect time to finish all the little projects that I have been putting off all year like organizing the storage room and cleaning out my car. I love the feeling of a clean and organized house! Plus, this is a great opportunity to re-decorate. You can find my spring cleaning list here.
  5. Get a quote to have our driveway re-done. We were going to build a new bathroom this year in our basement but decided to save money and do it next year. Instead of the building the bathroom we have decided to see how much it would be to have our driveway re-done. We bought our house in the winter so we weren’t really able to see how bad the driveway was. Hopefully getting it re-done is within our budget for the year!
  6. Go shopping and do a spring wardrobe refresh! I wear the same outfits to work every week and it’s gotten really old. I don’t feel great in what I have been wearing and my confidence suffers because of that. I think buying a couple of new pieces to add in will really help! Plus, I am hoping to shed a few more pounds and know that I will need new work pants soon.

I am looking forward to crushing these goals over the next few months! The weather is finally starting to warm up in Michigan and I can almost feel summer approaching! If you didn’t know, summer in Michigan is the most amazing thing ever (I am not biased at all). I can’t wait to spend my days at the lake surrounded by my family.

Do you have any goals that you want to accomplish this quarter?

You can check out my Q1 goals here!

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

 

Our Wedding Playlist – 100+ Must Play Wedding Songs

100+ Wedding Playlist Songs

Hey friends,

We are headed to a friend’s wedding this weekend so in honor of that I thought I would share our wedding playlist!

Music has always been my thing. I used to love making CDs of all of my favorite songs for my friends and family. Every single road trip or event had it’s own playlist and I would spend hours planning the order of each song.

Our wedding was the highlight of my playlist-creating career and I dedicated hours planning each and every song that I wanted to be played. I wanted the music before the ceremony to be very touching but still fun. We really didn’t want a super serious wedding but wanted every second to be heartfelt.

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I have a super clear memory of standing at the end of the path and watching through the trees as Brett walked my grandmas and our moms down the aisle. He couldn’t see me but I could see him. He had the biggest smile on his face! Then I watched as each member of our wedding party left ahead of me and my dad. I had so many butterflies!

When it was my turn to walk down the aisle with my dad I felt so lucky. My dad had foot surgery the week before the wedding so I knew he was in pain but he acted like there was no place he would rather be. I went into my marriage with no seconds thoughts, no cold feet.

I hope this list helps you plan the perfect songs for your big day!

Pre-Ceremony:

  • White Dress – Ben Rector
  • Lucky – Jason Mraz, Colbie Calliat
  • This – Darius Rucker
  • Grow Old With Me – John Lennon
  • Here Comes the Sun – The Beatles
  • Everything – Michael Buble
  • Wouldn’t It Be Nice – Beach Boys

Ceremony:

  • Parent’s Entrance w/ Brett: I Won’t Give Up – Jason Mraz
  • Bridal Party Entrance: Better Together – Jack Johnson
  • Bride’s Entrance: Forever Like That – Ben Rector

Recessional:

  • Waiting – Green Day
  • Brand New – Ben Rector
  • Ho Hey – The Lumineers

Wedding Party Entrance:

  • I’ll Be there for you – The Rembrandts

First Dance:

  • Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing – Aerosmith

Father-Daughter Dance:

  • Wildflowers -Tom Petty

Mother-Son Dance:

  • Forever Young – Rod Stewart

Mom and Dad Dance (25th Wedding Anniversary):

  • Forever and Ever, Amen – Randy Travis

Cake Cutting:

  • Good Life – One Republic

Bouquet Toss:

  • Where Them Girls At – David Guetta

Garter Toss:

  • The Boys Are Back in Town – Thin Lizzy

Must Play:

  • Don’t Stop Believin’ – Journey
  • What I Like About You – The Romantics
  • Summer of ’69 – Bryan Adams
  • Drink Up – Train
  • First Date – Blink 182
  • Uptown Funk – Bruno Mars
  • American Girl – Tom Petty
  • Closing Time – Semisonic
  • Party in the USA – Miley Cyrus
  • Party Rock Anthem – LMFAO
  • Cheap Thrills – Sia
  • YMCA – The Village People
  • Love Shack – B-52s
  • Pour Some Sugar on Me – Def Leppard
  • Livin’ on a Prayer – Bon Jovi
  • Footloose – Kenny Loggins
  • Sexyback – Justin Timberlake
  • What Makes You Beautiful – One Direction
  • (You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party) – Beastie Boys
  • All Summer Long – Kid Rock
  • You Shook Me All Night Long – AC/DC
  • I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) – The Proclaimers
  • Wanted – Hunter Hayes
  • Yeah! – Usher
  • God Gave Me You – Blake Shelton
  • Jessie’s Girl – Rick Springfield
  • Bailando – Enrique Iglesias
  • Starships – Nicki Manaj
  • The Nights – Avvici
  • Lighters – ft. Bruno Mars
  • Old Time Rockin Roll – Bob Seeger
  • Closer – Chainsmokers
  • Shut up and Dance – Walk the moon
  • Tik Tok – Ke$ha
  • Sexy And I Know It – LMFAO
  • Timber – Pitbull/Ke$ha
  • Something Just like This – Chainsmokers and Coldplay
  • Shape of You – Ed Sheeran
  • Wannabe – Spice Girls
  • Bye Bye Bye –NSYNC
  • Oops!… I did it Again – Britney Spears
  • Fancy – Iggy
  • Piano Man – Billy Joel
  • Wagon Wheel – Darius Rucker
  • I Want Crazy – Hunter Hayes
  • Cruise – Florida Georgia Line
  • Lean On Me – Bill Withers
  • Brown Eyed Girl – Van Morrison
  • Africa – Toto
  • Only Time – Enya
  • Kyrie – Mister Mister
  • It’s Tricky – Run DMC
  • Hey Ya – Outkast
  • Cupid’s Shuffle
  • Chicken dance
  • Cha Cha Slide
  • Once In A Lifetime – Landon Austin
  • Forever Like That – Ben Rector
  • Thinking Out Loud – Ed Sheeran
  • Better Together – Jack Johnson
  • Die a Happy Man – Thomas Rhett
  • Best Day of my Life – American Authors
  • Brand New – Ben Rector

Last Song:

  • Good Riddance (Time of your Life) – Green Day

We also had our DJ play requests during the reception which was a lot of fun! If you can, take the time to meet with your DJ in person before the wedding to talk about your music taste and how you want the reception to feel. I found this meeting very helpful!

Let me know if there are any songs that you would add to your wedding playlist!

Thanks for reading 🙂

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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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