House Updates – Year One

Buying Your First House, We bought our first house

In March we celebrated one year in our house. We went from renting a two bedroom apartment to owning a three bedroom 1941 cape cod in the cutest neighborhood. You can read the full post about buying our home here but to summarize it was love at first sight. Brett and I walked in and knew right away that this house was meant for us. One year later and we still feel that way and are so grateful to live here.

Over the past year we have made a couple of updates to the house and plan on making a few more in the near future. The first thing that needed updated was the garage. We have a detached one car garage with a carport. When we moved in the garage door was original to the garage but someone had added an electronic opener at some point. The garage door was too heavy though so it snapped the springs and was unable to open with the electric opener. I wish I would have taken a picture with the old garage door but you can see the new one below.

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Part of the reason we wanted to buy a house was so that I could park in a garage in the winter. In order to make this dream a reality we bought a new garage door and opener. My dad and uncle graciously installed both which was no easy task.

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Before I could park in the garage a workbench needed to be removed to make room for my car. My dad had the idea to turn the old workbench into an outdoor bar! He cut the bench to make it hit at the end of the carport and added a small patio for chairs. For my birthday my dad built four bar stools. We bought outdoor lights and hung up metal signs that we collected on the side of the garage. Now the carport is a cool hang out area and bar for when we have friends and family over.

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There was a concrete slab at the end of our garage where a shed used to stand. My dad designed and built another shed to fit on the slab with a door into our garage. The shed is used to store our lawn mowers and other outdoor necessities. He built shelves on the inside and an area for firewood and chairs to be stored on the outside. He also re-roofed the garage while building the shed.

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We made a small minor updates inside the house but nothing major yet. The main things we hope to accomplish in the next couple of years are building a second bathroom, re-doing our driveway, and replacing the kitchen floor. The interior of the house was recently re-painted and we love the colors so that makes things easy for us!

A big shout out to my dad for making all of these things happen! I have a vision and he always creates a plan and gets things done!

Overall, we are so happy with our purchase and look forward to many more years here!

Have you been working on any house projects lately?

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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

My #1 International Travel Essential – TEP Wireless Review

#1 Travel Essential - TEP Wireless Review , travel hotspot

Traveling has always been one of my favorite things to do. I love planning out itineraries of what to do each day and exploring all there is to see in each new place. I read the guide books and scour Pinterest and blogs for tips, tricks, and must see locations. I make a list of the food and drinks I need to try, the history behind each monument, and most importantly, I map out walking tours.

In October my husband took me to Paris and Rome for an early 25th birthday celebration. I had been to Paris before so I knew where to take Brett for his first visit. Rome was a different story. Rome had been #1 on my bucketlist for the last couple of years but I had no prior knowledge about how to get around the city.

I was doing my usual pre-trip research when I stumbled upon TEP Wireless, a portable “pocket” WiFi device. I was intrigued and dug into reviews and technical information to see what it was all about. My cell phone carrier can provide internet for international use. However, it’s incredibly expensive so I never buy the plan for trips. TEP Wireless seemed like the perfect solution!

You rent a “Teppy” device for the duration of your trip (days, weeks, or months) and you receive a unique password that you enter in when trying to join the network on your device. It’s super easy to use! The only downside if that you have to activate each day of internet access but it only takes a couple of clicks and the wifi is back up and running. The instructions explain everything!

The Teppy has 8+ hours of constant use on a single charge and works in over 100 countries. We rented the external charger which really came in handy on some of our longer days. Brett and I both used the wifi for our phones and never ran out of battery when we also had the external charger handy. The device is super small and easy to fit in a pocket or purse.

A couple of weeks before the trip I booked our Teppy device with a pre-paid return envelope. About two days before we left the Teppy arrived in a cute little package and was ready to go to Europe with us. When we knew our travel plans were changing from just Rome to Rome and Paris I hopped online to chat with one of the TEP Wireless customer service representatives. They were able to re-assure me that the device would work in Paris and Rome for no extra charge!

I was really glad to have TEP Wireless in both Paris and Rome. We never lost coverage and found it super easy to use! We look forward to renting with TEP Wireless for our next big trip!

By the way, I paid for my TEP Wireless rental with my own money. They do not know that I am doing this review but I thought it might be helpful for all of my fellow travel enthusiasts!

Have you heard of TEP Wireless before? Have you tried anything similar?

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Photo by Slava Bowman 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

 

2019: First Quarter Goals Recap

setting goals for 2019

In January I posted about my goals for the first quarter of 2019. The first three months have flown by and I am about to post my second quarter goals next week. Today I thought I would share how I did with my goals for the first quarter.

  1. Get a professional haircut. Guys! I hate getting my haircut so this still hasn’t happened. I still have this weekend though so I’ll try to force myself to get it cut. Do it for the blog!! I know I’ll feel better after I do.
  2. Travel at least twice. This was an easy one! We took a quick trip to visit Brett’s grandpa in Florida in January and then took a few days in February to visit my grandparent’s in Arizona.
  3. Commit to the blog. I give myself a 70% with this goal. I was pretty consistent with posting but never was able to reach my view goal that I always have in my head. If you read my blogging tips post you would know that I try not to take blogging too seriously so I won’t be hard myself and will consider this goal accomplished.
  4. Read three books and write reviews. YES! I read Meet Cute, All The Bright Places, and Top Ten and was able to write reviews for all three. I also read Holding Up The Universe by Jennifer Niven but haven’t posted the review for it yet. Stay tuned!
  5. Meal plan and prep for the week ahead. I did okay with meal planning and prep. I went to the grocery store and made sure I had work lunches packed 90% of the time. I learned a couple of new recipes that I am loving and stopped relying on my crock pot so much. I still have some work to do with this but I plan on continuing what I have been doing in Q2.
  6. Make healthy living a top priority. Why is this so hard? UGH. I am getting better though. I’ve been losing a couple of pounds a week and have stopped snacking so much in between meals. I think about my goals often and try to be gentle with myself. Healthy living has been my priority and will continue to be throughout the rest of the year.

Stay tuned for my second quarter goals next week! Do you have any goals for the next few months?

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Photo by Hey Beauti Magazine on Unsplash

 

 

My Experience With Trokendi XR For Migraines and Headaches

Trokendi XR; Chronic Migraine Treatment

I’ve been working on this post of the past couple of months and I want to start off by saying that Trokendi and Topamax are two of the most prescribed medications for migraines and for some people they can be life-changing. I am part of a Migraine support Facebook group where people compare medications and I have heard fantastic reviews for both Topamax and Trokendi. If you are suffering from headaches or migraines please listen to your doctor and be willing to try new treatment options even if you have heard they may not work and remember that this is just one person’s experience with the medication.

You can find my migraine story here if you’d like a little background information on my personal journey with chronic migraines.

I’ve had two Neurologists recommend that I take Trokendi XR. They would have had me take Topamax but my insurance doesn’t cover it. I really wasn’t sure if I wanted to try Tokendi but I figured it was worth a shot.

I started off by taking 25 mg and increased my dosage gradually over a few weeks until I maxed out at 100 mg. Each time the dosage increased by 25 mg and I carefully followed the directions provided by my neurologist. The picture at the top of this post shows a couple of the sample packets that my neurologist provided. He also gave me a card that had a number I could call in order to receive Trokendi free for one year! I ended up calling the card and it was very simple to setup and for my pharmacy to figure out.

After a couple of days of taking the 25 mg of Trokendi I began to notice my fingertips tingling. After a week my toes and feet also tingled. It felt like my hands were asleep all the time and I had a hard time being on my computer at work which is how I spend my 8+ hour day. As the dosage increased the tingling also increased to the point where it was really painful.

The second thing I noticed were my sleeping habits. I am generally a pretty good sleeper, especially when I have a migraine. But when I was on Trokendi I could go days without sleeping. I was so uncomfortable that falling asleep wasn’t possible. If I did sleep for a few hours I would wake up super early and not be able to go back to sleep. Some days I’d be so exhausted when I got home from work that I immediately went to bed and slept all night. There was really no in between, I either didn’t sleep or I slept way too much.

My sense of taste and smell were the next things to go. My taste buds changed pretty quickly and I started to have aversions to food that I had always loved. The types of food that I could tolerate were few and far between. For example, I have always loved the lime tortilla chips but once I started this medicine they tasted so bad that I couldn’t eat them and still can’t to this day. Taste began playing into smell in November when we went to the casino for Brett’s birthday. I had been tasting metal for awhile but at the casino my senses were introduced to cigarette smoke and for weeks after all I could taste and smell were cigarettes. It was miserable!

I will say that my pain was different. I won’t say that my pain went away but it did change. I had more ice pick headaches where it felt like someone was stabbing me in the forehead. The pain was muted by the side effects but it was still constantly present. I had less migraines on Trokendi but the pain of my headaches was still unbearable.

The major side effect that I had heard about with Topamax was brain fog. Trokendi gave me the worst brain fog. I’d be in the middle of a sentence and forget what I was saying. I couldn’t find the correct words and it became frustrating and terrifying.

However, one of my worst side effects was depression. Suddenly I was crying and over-emotional without even thinking about it. I texted my mom one day saying that I think I needed help because I felt so down and I just couldn’t help it. I’m lucky to have such great family and friends who really stepped up during this time to make sure that I was fed and taken care of because I no longer felt like taking care of myself. Because of the depression I knew I needed to be weaned off Trokendi for good.

I’m once again so grateful to have a job with unlimited sick days and the option to work from home. The support of my team during this time was amazing because I was sick the whole entire time I took Trokendi. There was one day where I hadn’t slept in a couple of nights and the thought of dragging myself to work made me break down. I texted my bosses that I wasn’t feeling well and ended up in bed for over 24 hours.

After about 6 weeks on Trokendi I went back in to see my neurologist. After explaining the tingling and depression he decided that I needed to be weaned off of it right away. I spent another couple of weeks weaning off the Trokendi. It’s been a couple of months now and the majority of the side effects have gone away. I still have left over food aversions and my taste hasn’t come back all the way yet.

I really wanted to share my honest experience of what it was like to take Trokendi XR. If you struggle from migraines or any health related issues you know how hard it is to find good advice about what you are going through. I scoured the internet for information about Trokendi and talked to two neurologists about it. I’m by no means an expert but this is how I felt while I was experiencing the effects of Trokendi.

Have you taken Trokendi or Topamax for migraines? What was your experience like?

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Top Ten by Katie Cotugno

Top Ten by Katie Cotugno - YA Book Recommendation

Last summer I reviewed 99 Days by Katie Cotugno and I really enjoyed it! If I like a book by an author I always make sure to check out other books that they have written. Top Ten has been on my Amazon wishlist for months and I finally purchased it when I was looking for a quick and fun read.

Summary:

Ryan McCullough and Gabby Hart are the unlikeliest of best friends. Prickly, anxious Gabby would rather do literally anything than go to a party. Ultra-popular Ryan is a hockey star who can get any girl he wants—and frequently does.

But somehow their relationship just works; from dorky Monopoly nights to rowdy house parties to the top ten lists they make about everything under the sun.

Now, on the night of high school graduation, everything is suddenly changing—in their lives, and in their relationship. As they try to figure out what they mean to each other and where to go from here, they make a final top ten list: this time, counting down the top ten moments of their friendship.

Review:

If you want a book that will take you back to high school, this is it. I hated 98% of my high school experience but I do really enjoy YA books. This book was so relatable because it explored friendship, first loves, breakups, tense family dynamics, and mental and physical health.

I really enjoyed the perspective from both Ryan and Gabby. Their characters were developed really well throughout the book. The timeline was a bit hard to follow because it kept jumping back and forth from the past and present. But overall it was cool to read about how their friendship developed and changed over the years and it made me miss my high school friends.

What I loved most about this book though was Gabby. I loved her introvertedness and how awkward she always felt. I loved when she explains her anxiety and her fears. I loved her sisters and her family. And I really loved reading about how she finally overcame her fears.

I did not enjoy the ending of the book. It feels unfinished and I still have so many questions. I enjoy having everything tied up in a neat little bow and that didn’t happen this time. I was also left thinking about my own high school experience which is never the most fun thing to think about.

Rating: 3/5 Stars

I’m a quick reader so if I like a book I can fly through it in one sitting. This book took me a couple of weeks to finish. I’d read a couple chapters each night before bed but honestly I wasn’t super invested in the book itself. I still give it 3 stars because the characters were so well developed and I did enjoy the plot. I think Katie wrote about some tough topics that are important to read about and understand.

There’s just something about high school that makes everyone a little mushy on the inside. Whether you enjoyed it or hated it, there are still so many memories associated with that time period of your life. For me, I had a best friend turned boyfriend who I dated for the first two years of high school. We had been friends for years before that so he just felt like such an important piece of my life at the time. He was nothing like Ryan from this book though and it was a blessing in disguise when he broke up with me. But still, the memory of my ex-friend/boyfriend is one of the main things that ruins my high school memories.

I’m already finished with my next book so hopefully I’ll have another book review up soon! Have you read any good books lately?

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