2019: First Quarter Goals

2019 Goals. New Years Resolutions. 2019 1st Quarter Goals

The time is finally here to start planning my goals for 2019. The past year flew by and I’m not sad to see it go. January always feels like a fresh start and this year I could really use a clean slate.

My goals for the first three months of 2019 are below and I encourage you to set goals for yourself too! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; setting quarterly goals instead of annual ones has been a game changer for me! I started setting quarterly goals at the end of 2017 and continued through all of 2018. I actually found myself looking back on my goals more often and completing them!

  1. Get a professional haircut. It’s incredibly sad that this is my first goal but the truth is that I HATE getting my hair cut. The whole process takes way too long and I’m rarely 100% satisfied with the results. I have super thick, wavy hair and most hairstylists don’t seem to know how to handle it. I like to joke that my hair is allergic to water because the second it gets wet it goes crazy and refuses to untangle. I have tried every product imaginable to tame the beast but I’ve summed it up to be #thickhairproblems. Do you have any hair products that you swear by?
  2. Travel at least twice. After our trip to Europe in October I was exhausted and traveling was the last thing I wanted to do. But Brett loves to travel and deep down I do too. I don’t want my love of adventures to be another thing my headaches take away from me. Brett and I want to take at least two small trips during Q1 including a trip to Florida to visit his Grandpa. The other trip will likely be a super spontaneous weekend trip so stayed tuned for the details!
  3. Commit to the blog. I have said this over and over before but have never stuck to it. I love blogging and in 2019 I want to focus more on doing the things that I love. Over the past 5 years the blogging community has embraced me and this has become my safe place away from everything else. I want 2019 to be the best year ever for Life of Hayley!
  4. Read three books and write reviews. One of the best things that 2018 brought me was my love of books. So far I have partially read two books that I am loving. I enjoy writing book reviews so hopefully I will find three books that I love to review!
  5. Meal plan and prep for the week ahead. I’ll admit that I haven’t cooked a real meal in a long time. My Crock pot and I became really good friends in 2018 because I had no energy or desire to cook. I’m kinda sick of the standard Crock pot meals though and am ready to start eating healthier and meal planning. Before our wedding in 2017 I was the Queen of meal prep. I’m hoping to at least get to Princess level in 2019.
  6. Make healthy living a top priority. I almost titled this goal as “making weight loss a priority” but then I re-evaluated my mind-set. This goal isn’t all about the number on the scale. I know that I need to lose weight but I also know my negative relationship with my body image. For me, the focus has to be on eating healthier and exercising and not the number on the scale.

In addition to setting quarterly goals I also wanted to choose a word to capture my goals for 2019. It took me longer than I care to admit to find a word that completely covers everything that I want to accomplish this year.

The word I picked is confidence.

Confidence in my ability to fight the demons that I am facing. Confidence in myself to be the best person that I can be. Confidence in my body as I look in the mirror everyday. Confidence as I stand in front of my co-workers with the knowledge that I can do my job well. Confidence that I am moving in the right direction.

Confidence in me.

What are your goals for 2019? Let me know below.

Thanks for reading!

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Life Update

Life Update - You Got This - Chronic Migraine

Hey friends!

It’s been awhile since my last blog post and I have started writing this so many times but have never hit publish for one reason or another. The last you heard from me I was in Italy with Brett enjoying a much needed vacation. I want to do a full recap on our time in Italy AND Paris very soon because it was amazing but first I wanted to go over a couple of things that I have happened while I’ve been away.

The first big thing that I celebrated was my 25th birthday! My birthday always causes me to reflect on the reason why I started Life of Hayley. This blog began right after my 20th birthday as a way to document the 25 things I wanted to accomplish before turning 25. With that said, Life of Hayley is turning five! I can’t believe that I’ve been blogging for five years already! A full recap on my five years of blogging will be coming your way very soon.

I also want to give a quick health update which is the main reason why I had to take a break from blogging. I did start seeing a new Neurologist in October and he started me on a new medication. I will probably do a full migraine update at some point but let’s just say this new medication say not agreed with me at all. I’ve been very sick for the past six weeks and it’s been taking a toll on my mental health. I hate that my health has once again impacted my blogging because I was really starting to grow this space but sometimes I have to take a step back and take care of myself first.

I promise that there will be more to follow soon. I don’t want to drop off the face of the planet again.

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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Travel Playlist – A Week In Italy

Travel Playlist - Italy

Hello from Italy (hopefully)!

I am scheduling this post a week in advance but *fingers crossed* Brett and I are currently in Rome!

The most popular blog post that I have ever written was my Study Abroad Playlist in 2015. I am still blown away by the number of views that I receive each week on this post! Music is so important to me and I love having a playlist for each trip that I take. This trip to Rome has been one that I have been dreaming about since I was in Elementary school. I’m so grateful to get the chance to visit!

I should also mention during this trip I will be living out my Lizzie McGuire movie dreams so of course there will be songs from the movie soundtrack. 🙂 I hope you enjoy this little taste of Rome.

Volare – Vitamin C

Pompeii – Bastille

Walking On Sunshine – Katrina & The Waves

Daydream Believer – The Monkees

Learning to Fly – Tom Petty

Go Big Or Go Home – American Authors

Send Me On My Way – Rusted Root

New Soul – Yael Naim

What Dreams Are Made Of – Hilary Duff

Here I Go Again – Whitesnake

Where The Streets Have No Name – U2

The Nights – Avicci

Have Love Will Travel – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

I Love This Life – LOCASH

What are your favorite songs for traveling?

Thanks for reading!

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Hello From Somewhere!

travel blog

Hi friends!

It’s the beginning of a new week and I have no idea where I am. I’m writing this post ahead of time because Brett and I are traveling this week. The goal is to make it to Europe, preferably Rome, but we will take a what we can get!

My husband, Brett, works for an airline which means that we get flight benefits to fly standby. We aren’t guaranteed a seat on the flight and a lot of times we get stuck places. But I guess that’s part of the adventure!

This week we are trying to make it to Rome and hopefully by the time you are reading this we have made it. If you want to know where we ended up make sure to follow me on Instagram (@lifeofhayleyblog). I’ll be posting to my stories as often as I can.

I am so excited for this new adventure with Brett and can’t wait to share my travels with you when I return.

Thanks so much for reading!

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Falling In Love With Traverse City, MI

traverse city
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.

 

 

 

What to Pack for a Week in Italy

what to pack for a week in italy, rome italy packing list

Hi friends!

Brett and I are preparing for our trip to Rome in a couple of weeks. I have been working on creating my packing list and buying any pieces that I still needed before the trip. I thought it would be fun to share what I am bringing on our trip!

I hope this list can help you plan for your next adventure!

Bags:

  • 1 full size suitcase to share with Brett
  • 1 carryon suitcase
  • 1 small Vera Bradley weekender
  • 1 cross body purse
  • 1 travel wallet
  • 1 foldable reusable bag

Electronics:

  • 2 Converters
  • iPhone, charger
  • iPad, charger
  • cameras, memory cards, chargers, cases
  • Headphones

Miscellaneous Items:

  • Travel journal
  • Book
  • Copy of hotel reservation and any pre-booked tickets
  • Empty water bottle
  • Snacks
  • Umbrella
  • Passport, Driver’s License
  • Travel Credit Card/Debit Card
  • Small amount of currency

Shoes:

  • 1 Nikes
  • 1 Converse
  • 1 Sandals

Clothes:

  • 2 sweaters (black, grey)
  • 1 foldable rain jacket
  • 1 light jacket
  • 2 layering tank tops (white, black)
  • 2 jeans (black, dark wash)
  • 1 shorts (dark wash)
  • 3 t-shirts (black, white, grey)
  • 1 light weight scarf
  • 2 sleep shirts/comfortable t-shirts
  • 1 pajama pants
  • 1 athletic shorts
  • 1 dress
  • 3 blouses
  • 1 leggings
  • 1 swim suit
  • 1 belt
  • Socks, underwear, bras
  • Cheap jewelry

Toiletries:

  • Medication
  • Travel sized shampoo, conditioner, body wash, face wash, toothpaste
  • Toothbrush, floss
  • Face wipes, moisturizer, lotion
  • Sunscreen
  • Basic makeup (concealer, foundation, mascara)
  • Emergency feminine products
  • Deodorant
  • Hairbrush
  • Hair ties

My top tips for packing are to use packing cubes, pick a color scheme, check the weather before leaving, and to pack as light as possible. As you can see, I’m really not bringing a lot with me on this trip. I know that if I forget something I can buy it there. I am packing mostly staple items that I can mix and match to create different outfits.

I usually stay pretty close to my list when it actually comes time to pack but a few extra items still find their way into my suitcase. I also pack for Brett because he ends up bringing everything he owns. It’s hilarious to watch but not fun to drag his stuff through cities. Packing light is key!

This list can be edited for any trip that you are taking! Basic items are the most important because you can really build on your basics. I don’t bring anything expensive or irreplaceable with me either. Pickpockets are present pretty much anywhere you are going so it’s best to not have anything of great value with you.

I have a more in depth packing list that I posted a couple of years ago when I studied abroad in London. Check it out if you need a more detailed list for longer trips!

If you have been to Rome please let me know if there’s anything else you think I will need to bring! I’d love to hear any travel tips too.

Thanks for reading!

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