Five on Friday #7

Five on Friday

Happy Friday!! I am so ready for this weekend! This past week has been a bit of a struggle for me. I’ve been fighting a losing battle with a headache that wants to turn into a migraine. This weekend I plan on getting some much needed sleep!

  1. I’m going into this weekend with no real plans. Maybe I’ll clean the house and go grocery shopping? But I don’t really have anything else lined up to do which is the best feeling!
  2. I’ve been reading a couple chapters every night from Top Ten by Katie Cotugno. I loved reading 99 Days over the summer so I was excited to read another book by her! So far I don’t love it as much as I loved 99 Days but I do think it’s really cute and fluffy.
  3. Speaking of high school, we cleaned out my parent’s basement last weekend and now I am the proud owner of two boxes full of high school memories. High School Hayley was really annoying and I’m happy to have left her in the past.
  4. One year ago we were moving into our first house! It’s crazy how fast time has gone! I never thought I’d find somewhere that made me feel more at home than my parent’s house where I grew up. But the moment I walked into our house I felt relaxed and knew that we were meant to be there. One year later and I am still so in love with our cozy cape cod!
  5. I’ve been thinking about work-life balance this past week. I was talking to my group of study abroad friends about how much vacation time is standard in their countries. My workplace is pretty flexible when it comes to time off, working from home, and sick days but I still feel pressure to work as much as possible. The thought of being able to take a two week vacation seems crazy to me now! Honestly, I have had so many thoughts running through my head this past week that I need to figure out how to sort through.

How was your week? Do you have any plans this weekend?

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New Year, New Reading List

2019 Reading List

In 2018 I fell back in love with reading. I learned to read at an early age and always had a book with me when I was growing up. As I got older my love for reading always remained but the free-time I had to read dwindled. In 2018 I wanted to read more and find the joy of a good book again. Going into 2019 I want to continue this exploration of books and my love for reading.

What does this mean for the blog?

Hopefully it means more reading lists and book reviews. The amazing thing about reading is that it reminds me how much I love to write. Reading inspires writing which inspires blogging. Therefore, more reading equals more blogging!

To start off 2019 I will be sharing a list of books that I am hoping to read this year. If I don’t like a book I have a very hard time convincing myself to continue reading it. I’ve read reviews for all of the below books and I’m really hoping that I like them! By the way, this list is in no particular order.

  1. Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares – Rachel Coon and David Levithan
  2. 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do – Amy Morin
  3. People Like Us – Dana Mele
  4. Meet Cute – Various YA Authors
  5. Becoming – Michelle Obama
  6. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck – Mark Manson
  7. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up – Marie Kondo
  8. Holding Up The Universe – Jennifer Niven
  9. One Day In December – Josie Silver
  10. The Yellow Envelope – Kim Dinan
  11. The Librarian of Auschwitz – Antonio Iturbe
  12. The 5 Love Languages – Gary Chapman

If I find other books I will be adding them to my list. I have a huge stack of books on my nightstand right now and I tend to just grab whatever sounds good and start reading it. Brett knows that if he needs to buy me a gift for any reason he should go straight to my Amazon wishlist and buy any of the books that I have on there.

Please let me know if you have any other book recommendations! I go through books pretty quickly especially in the summer and winter months so I always appreciate a good recommendation.

Have you read any amazing books lately? Or are there any books that you are dying to read this year?

Thanks for reading!

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The Way I Used To Be by Amber Smith

Book Review - The Way I Used To Be by Amber Smith

Hi friends!

A couple of weeks ago I read The Way I Used To Be by Amber Smith. I had read the first two chapters online and really wanted to know what ended up happening to Eden. I knew this would be different than the other books I have been reading recently.

I will start off my saying that I didn’t completely love this book. It was tough to read at times but the message is so important. After reading this I feel compelled to have others read it too. It may not end up being your favorite book but it might give you perspective and understanding of what other’s are feeling.

Here’s the description:

Eden was always good at being good. Starting high school didn’t change who she was. But the night her brother’s best friend rapes her, Eden’s world capsizes.

What was once simple, is now complex. What Eden once loved—who she once loved—she now hates. What she thought she knew to be true, is now lies. Nothing makes sense anymore, and she knows she’s supposed to tell someone what happened but she can’t. So she buries it instead. And she buries the way she used to be.

Told in four parts—freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior year—this provocative debut reveals the deep cuts of trauma. But it also demonstrates one young woman’s strength as she navigates the disappointment and unbearable pains of adolescence, of first love and first heartbreak, of friendships broken and rebuilt, all while learning to embrace the power of survival she never knew she had hidden within her heart.

If you have been through high school you can probably relate to Eden in some ways. High school is about finding yourself and Eden lost her way for a reason that was completely out of her control.

The book follows Eden through her high school career and gets darker as time goes on. I was mad at her for not telling her mom right after it happened and it hurt watching their mother-daughter relationship falter as the years went on. I wanted her family to understand how she was feeling so badly but completely understand why she felt that she couldn’t say anything.

The Way I Used To Be was a powerful book with a strong female lead. I actually hurt for Eden and it opened up my eyes to how people feel in her situation. It may not be based on a true story but it shows the victim’s perspective after being raped.

Have you read any insightful books that changed your way of thinking?

Thanks for reading!

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99 Days by Katie Cotugno

99 Days Katie Cotugno Book Review Summer Reading List

Happy September, friends!

This summer has been full of reading for me! I just can’t seem to get enough of the fun “beach reads” even though I haven’t actually gone to the beach to read them. 😉 I am a fast reader but I have been amazed at how quickly I have been getting through books lately.

99 Days by Katie Cotugno was a quick and easy read that I couldn’t get enough of! I found myself relating so well to Molly even though (thankfully) my life has been much less dramatic than hers.

Molly Barlow just graduated from her high school boarding school in Arizona. Before she can head off to college in Boston she must spend 99 days back at home. The home she ran away from when her mom wrote a book detailing her love life.

I don’t want to give too much away but I spent pretty much the whole book hating Molly’s mom for her decision to publish the book. Of course, Molly should have made better decisions in the first place but moms are supposed to help and guide you. Not write every single detail of your most embarrassing moments for the whole world to read. Plus, high schoolers don’t make the best decisions. Mistakes help people learn and Molly should have been able to leave her mistake behind.

Anyway, I will get off my high horse and continue on with the book. Here’s the details according to Katie:

Molly Barlow is facing one long, hot summer—99 days—with the boy whose heart she broke and the boy she broke it for . . . his brother.

Day 1: Julia Donnelly eggs my house my first night back in Star Lake, and that’s how I know everyone still remembers everything. She has every right to hate me, of course: I broke Patrick Donnelly’s heart the night everything happened with his brother, Gabe. Now I’m serving out my summer like a jail sentence: Just ninety-nine days till I can leave for college and be done.

Day 4: A nasty note on my windshield makes it clear Julia isn’t finished. I’m expecting a fight when someone taps me on the shoulder, but it’s just Gabe, home from college and actually happy to see me. “For what it’s worth, Molly Barlow,” he says, “I’m really glad you’re back.”

Day 12: Gabe wouldn’t quit till he got me to come to this party, and I’m surprised to find I’m actually having fun. I think he’s about to kiss me—and that’s when I see Patrick. My Patrick, who’s supposed to be clear across the country. My Patrick, who’s never going to forgive me.

Gabe is so sweet to Molly throughout the book and for a second he is the only one who will talk to her. I really liked his character. I thought he was funny, charming, and so down to earth. I never really understood what Molly saw in Patrick.

In my opinion, cheating is very wrong. Judging people when you don’t know the whole story is also wrong. And as Ross Geller from Friends said, “We were on a break!”

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Break ups can be messy and confusing. Maybe they weren’t really broken up? Who knows? Point is, people shouldn’t have been so judgmental. Molly should not have been shunned and driven out of her hometown.

This book was addictive. I immediately ordered the sequel, 9 Days and 9 Nightsfrom Amazon and impatiently waited for it to be delivered. I even scoured the internet looking for free chapters while I waited. And let me tell you, 9 Days and Nights did not disappoint!

Have you read any amazing books lately?

Thanks for reading!

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Five On Friday

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Happy Friday!!

I am SO ready for the weekend even though it’s going to be crazy busy. I thought it would be fun to share five things that I’m loving or looking forward to this weekend!

  1. Tonight we are celebrating my dad’s retirement! He technically retired in May but my sister was in New York so we wanted to wait until she got home for the party.
  2. I went grocery shopping on Wednesday so now I have lots of healthy foods ready to go for the weekend. I’m trying really hard to eat healthy and lose weight.
  3. On Saturday we are going to a balloon fest and Sunday we are going to an airshow. I also have a Bridal Shower on Saturday. It’s another busy weekend!
  4. I made a huge order from The Limited that should be coming any day now. I am trying to completely refresh my professional wardrobe and I’m hoping a lot of the items I ordered online will work out! The Limited is having a great sale right now if you are on the hunt for affordable pieces to add to your wardrobe.
  5. I will be reading Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum this weekend. I have heard some pretty good reviews about this book so I have high hopes! It’s another YA novel so it should be a quick and fun weekend read.

What are you up to this weekend? I’m trying to soak in every last minute of summer!

Wishing you all a great Friday and weekend! 🙂

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Things That Make Me Happy

Things That Make Me Happy
Hellllloooo!

Life of Hayley has been a little depressing as of late. I was talking to my husband, Brett, the other night and he said I should make a list of the things that make me happy so when I’m down I can read the list. So here goes nothing!

By the way, this list is not in any kind of order.

  • Our cat, Lucy
  • Summer nights by the bonfire
  • Hanging out with Brett
  • Being at the Lake surrounded by family
  • My parent’s dog, Megan
  • Shopping with my mom and sister
  • British candy
  • Road trips
  • A clean car
  • Freshly baked cookies
  • A completed to-do list
  • Sunday afternoon naps
  • Getting a good deal (on anything)
  • Summer in Michigan
  • My grandma’s banana bread and zucchini cake
  • Traveling (especially around Europe)
  • A good ol’ cup of tea
  • Reading before bed
  • Helping someone when they need it
  • Writing (this blog, a book, who knows?)
  • Boat rides
  • Walking the dog
  • Toddlers
  • Nice people
  • An unexpected “Thank You”
  • Weddings
  • A clean house
  • Fresh sheets
  • Weekends
  • New skin care
  • A full tank of gas
  • Clothes that I feel comfortable in
  • An empty e-mail inbox
  • Coke Slushies
  • FroYo
  • Putting my pajamas on after work
  • Christmas Eve
  • Fireworks
  • Summer car rides with music blaring
  • Home
  • Ikea
  • Reading book reviews
  • Brunch
  • Fresh flowers
  • London, England
  • Our wedding video
  • Collecting vintage tea cups
  • Harry Potter!
  • Art Shows
  • People watching
  • Puppies
  • Trader Joe’s
  • 90’s music
  • Sunflowers
  • Sour candy
  • Friends
  • Going to the beach
  • Camping

That was easier than I thought it would be! I could go on and on but I won’t bore you with the details. Making a list of my favorite things actually did make me feel so much better! Next time I’m feeling down I will come back and read through this to remember my happiness.

And as the saying goes – “It’s a bad day, not a bad life”

Thanks for reading! What are your favorite things?

 
Lifestyle Blog, Life of Hayley

 

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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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