My Legendary 25th Birthday!

John Legend, 25th Birthday

Hey friends!

My 25th birthday was at the end of October and yes I know this post is super late but I really wanted to share it with you!

Birthdays are always so special and this one was even more important because of this blog. Life of Hayley began as a way for me to document the 25 things I wanted to accomplish before turning 25. I started blogging right after my 20th birthday and it really evolved from there into a hobby that I love.

I had been simultaneously looking forward to and dreading my 25th birthday for the past couple of months. I wasn’t worried about reaching my goals that I set for myself when I was 20. In fact, I haven’t been worried about those goals in years. I’m proud of how far I’ve come and all I have accomplished in the past five years. I’m looking forward to the next five!

So let’s talk about why this birthday was so Legendary with a capital L.

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Have you heard of John Legend? Well, my work throws some pretty sweet parties and for their 20th Anniversary Gala they invited John Legend as the surprise musical guest and the Gala happened to fall on my birthday! Which meant that I got to get all dressed up in black tie apparel, get my hair and makeup done, and spend the evening eating, drinking, and singing along to John Legend with Brett and my favorite co-workers. Talk about Legendary!

I couldn’t think of a better way to start my 25th year!

Thanks so much for reading!

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8 Tips and Tricks to be more Financially Responsible

Learning How To Become Financially Responsible - How I graduated from college debt free plus more tips and tricks for saving money

 

Hey friends,

Today I thought I would share a little story with all of you. I get asked a lot of questions by friends and acquaintances about how I can be so young but so responsible. I always have a hard time explaining that I ended up this way based on the lessons my parents taught me growing up. I was extremely lucky to learn these lessons at a very early age. I didn’t always understand the “why” but I did understand what was expected of me.

I was lucky growing up. Both of my parents had jobs, we had a house to live in, drawers of clothes to wear, and there was always food on the table. However, I felt like the one girl in my class who did not have a Barbie Dream House. You know, the giant pink house with an elevator and fireplace with room enough for Barbie, Ken, and all of their friends?

I can remember going over to my friend’s house and playing with her Barbie Dream House. I wanted one so bad and made sure to tell my parents at every opportunity. I didn’t understand why they wouldn’t buy me one. They had jobs and I had lots of Barbie’s to put in the house. Didn’t I deserve a Barbie Dream House?

The answer is no. I was surrounded by Barbie’s, American Girl Dolls, and numerous other toys. My parents did not have a lot of disposable income but we still received many gifts and toys at Holidays and for our Birthdays. I can now appreciate all of the sacrifices my parents made for us.

What I didn’t know at the time, was that my parents were putting money into a CD and a savings account for me and my sister. The money that they could have spent on more toys for us was put into these accounts to save for our college educations. When I babysat or got money for holidays, my parents made me put half into the bank. I could spend or save the other half on things that I wanted.

Now I realize that this is the most important life lesson my parents taught me; how to be financially responsible.

I started working my junior year of high school and worked all the way through college. Here’s the cool thing, I wanted to work. My parents never forced me to get a job. I saved my money for tuition, books, a new car, etc. I took a lot of pride in being the only person in my college orientation group not relying on their parents for everything.

I graduated from college debt free. Partially because my mom works at the university but also because I knew how to save my money and applied for scholarships to help make up the difference.

Here are a few of my tips and tricks for managing money:

  1. Like my parents taught me at a very early age, put at least 50% of whatever you earn into the bank ASAP. That way you are not tempted to spend the money before it has been fully accounted for. For me, this includes my bi-weekly paychecks which are automatically deposited into my bank account as well as any birthday or holiday money that I may receive. My personal preference is to deposit 100% of my money into the bank first and then decide how the money needs to be spent or saved.
  2. Set financial goals for yourself that you would like to work towards. My main goal right now is to pay off my car and build another bathroom in our house. Since I know my goals it is so much easier for me to save money.
  3. Put $1,000 into an Emergency Fund for any crazy things that happen along the way. Life is crazy and there are always expenses that happen that we didn’t plan for. It’s great knowing that you have an emergency fund to fall back on if needed.
  4. Have different accounts for different reasons. My bank allows us to have several savings/checking accounts with the ability to name them whatever you want. I have a “house fund” and an “emergency fund” in addition to a couple of others.
  5. Communicate goals with your partner or spouse. Brett and I are constantly talking about our goals for the future. It’s so important to be on the same page about financial decisions!
  6. Have a budget. I cannot stress this enough. I have a budget for pretty much everything including groceries, gas, clothing, and “fun”. Your budget can be flexible but try to give yourself a range to stay within.
  7. Be willing to say no. My co-workers ask everyday if I want to grab coffee and the answer is always no. I say no for two reasons. 1. I don’t like coffee. 2. I’d rather save the $2+ every morning for something else. It’s okay to say yes every once in a while but be willing to bring your own coffee or lunch to save a bit of money.
  8. Be flexible. These changes will not happen overnight and that’s okay! Keep working towards your goals and eventually you will get there!

I’ve mentioned before that I work in the financial industry and I can honestly say that my interest in finance started from the lessons that my parents taught me about money. While people around me love to spend their money I would much rather save mine for something I really want or invest it towards my future.

I am lucky to have started saving at an early age but it’s never too late to change your spending habits! I hope these tips and tricks help you reach your financial goals!

Thanks so much 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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My Migraine Story

 

Chronic Migraines, Chronic Headaches, My Migraine Story, Migraine Treatments

Hey, hey.

It’s me, back with one of the most personal posts I have ever shared on the internet.

It’s no secret that I have been living with daily headaches and chronic migraines. I have often shared my struggles with balancing life and work with the constant pain. I still don’t have any answers and I may never receive them but I thought I’d share my story because I know that I am not the only one struggling.

I can remember having headaches as a pre-teen but they never lasted that long. My junior year in high school was when my headaches started to become a routine problem but I was able to take an ibprofen and be fine to go about my day.

My mom, sister, and I got into a car accident that same year. My head went through the passenger side window and I still can’t remember the accident. I have a brief memory of waking up in the ambulance but I mostly just remember waking up at the hospital.

After the car accident, I continued to have headaches but they started to get a little stronger. I also started to get migraines that made me sick to my stomach. Senior year was when they became an almost constant problem. My eyesight started getting blurry and it was painful to wake up in the morning. My brain felt like it was pressing up against my skull at all times.

College was when I started to see a neurologist. My headaches had become constant and I was getting migraines a couple of times per month. I was living in the noisy dorms and trying to balance 5 classes, a part-time job, and a minimal social life. It was not how I imagined college to be. For the first time, I was prescribed something for the pain. We discovered early on that I have a bad reaction to most of the commonly used medicines for headache pain. My stomach could not seem to handle it.

I went to London and hoped for the best. My headaches followed me and I spent more time then I want to admit in bed with the blankets covering my eyes. I had to say no to experiences with my friends and missed many of our lunch time adventures. I vowed to make a change when I got home. I didn’t want to keep missing out on things due to my headaches.

Not much changed when I got home and I can’t exactly pinpoint the moment where my headaches started to rule over me. I needed to take ibprofen three times a day in order to function. My head hurt the worst in the morning when I first woke up and at night when I was trying to sleep. The pain would wake me up from a deep sleep. I started to become dependent on ibprofen because it was the only thing that made me feel normal, if only for a few hours.

Now I understand that my constant intake of ibprofen actually began to cause rebound headaches. My body became dependent on it and it made my headaches even worse. I actually felt like I couldn’t function without it. But what was I to do? I was a full time student and almost full time employee at a job where I couldn’t just call off work if I didn’t feel well. It was a never ending cycle.

I graduated in April 2016 and began looking for a full time job in my field. I spent a lot of time in bed in between working and applying for jobs. I was exhausted and didn’t take care of myself. I stopped taking the preventative medicine that my doctor had given to me because it wasn’t working and I felt hopeless.

Fast forward to me accepting my current position and being thrown into a field that I I knew very little about. I thought that college had prepared me for a corporate job but I was very wrong and very out of my element. I was depressed and sick. I started seeing my neurologist again and we discussed the lifestyle changes that I would need to make in order to start feeling better.

It’s been a year and a half and very little progress has been made. I have a headache every single day and am almost constantly nauseous. I struggled a lot in the beginning of my career because the pain made me feel really self conscious and I didn’t want my new co-workers to know my problems. But now they know and understand that sometimes I need to sit in my corner quietly and just work. I try to miss as few days as possible at work but my boss is very understanding if I need to take a break.

So, that’s where I am at. Many years and no answers. I should mention that my mom and grandma both have these headaches so the doctors know that it is genetic. I am also consulting a neurologist when taking medications. It is very important to speak to a medical professional when taking any sort of medication.

I am trying to stay hopeful that my neurologist will find something to help me. At my last visit we discussed trying physical and massage therapy.  I start physical therapy this week and am super hopeful that it will help! And now you know that if I ever go a long time without blogging it is most likely due to having a bad headache week.

Let me know if you have any recommendations! I might write a post on all my tips and tricks for dealing with headaches or migraines.

Thanks so much for reading!

Lifestyle Blog, Life of Hayley

 

Image via Unsplash

An Honest Life Update

Anxiety, goodnight
Hello, hello

I can’t sleep so I thought I’d hop on the blog and talk about what’s keeping me awake.

For starters, Brett is off on a boy’s trip to Oregon with his friends and it’s storming in Michigan. He’s tracking the weather from his trip but I’m still missing his constant stream of commentary every time it thunders. I’m having a really hard time sleeping without him even though I am enjoying having all the blankets to myself.

I’m also having some extreme anxiety about work. We are very understaffed at work which has lead me to working many long hours. I am fine putting in a lot of work because I know I am making an impact on our client’s lives but lately I cannot seem to catch up. The work keeps on piling up and even though I am working at a crazy fast pace I still can’t get everything done.

I am a perfectionist which is why I am good at my job. I like to take my time and make sure that everything is correct which is hard to do when I am cramming so many tasks into each day. I keep getting angry at myself that I can’t get more work done. I am physically and mentally exhausted by the time I walk to my car at the end of the day.

Today I also found out that I made a huge mistake back in July of 2017. Everyone keeps telling me that it’ll be okay but the problem is that I can’t even remember making the mistake. I’ve been so busy, angry, and frustrated that I haven’t had the time to dwell on anything.

So now I’m sitting in bed thinking about work and wishing that I had brought home my work laptop so I could get a jumpstart on my to-do list for tomorrow.

Does anyone know the definition of work-life balance? Because clearly I do not.

Tomorrow is another day and hopefully it will be better. I want to point out that I do love my job. It’s just busy season and I am still covering a maternity leave. It will get better. I will survive. My team is amazing and I am grateful for this job.

Wish me luck as I try to get some sleep tonight.

Goodnight, my friends! Let me know if you have any tips for falling asleep or anxiety.

 

Lifestyle Blog, Life of Hayley

 

Photo by Alex Jones on Unsplash

2018: First Quarter Goals

2018 First Quarter Goals

Hello again!

I am back with my goals for the first quarter of 2018! I like the idea of New Years resolutions. However, I have a hard time sticking to them because 365 days seems like a long time. I eventually forget my goals and by December I haven’t really accomplished anything.

That’s why I love setting quarterly goals. So much of what I do at work revolves around quarters so I have an easy time thinking this way. It’s a great way to break the year up into four manageable sections.

With that said, here are a few things that I am hoping to accomplish over the next couple of months:

  1. Pay Off One Credit Card. Brett and I are super lucky because I have no credit card debt and Brett has very little. We have been reading Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover and it has given us the inspiration to start small and pay off our lowest balance credit card. I would love to go into 2019 with no credit card debt!
  2. Start House Hunting. I LOVE renting but the finance lover in me hates throwing our money away on something we don’t own. Brett and I sat down with a realtor this week and agreed to start taking baby steps towards purchasing our first home. We will start to look at houses in our price range and figure out what we like and dislike. We will shop around for different home loan lenders and find the best fit for us. We will not feel pressured into buying a house. We will buy when we are ready.
  3. Continue to make my health a priority. Guys, I have struggled for YEARS with migraines and daily headaches. I went almost two years with a constant headache and the pain has been debilitating. I made it a goal last quarter to really work with my Neurologist to find a solution that will work for me and my liver. The past month has been amazing. I still have headaches and the occasional migraine but the pain is finally manageable. I know I still have a long road ahead of me but this is the first time since 2011 that I have felt this good. *Knocks on wood*
  4. Being more productive after work. I am always exhausted after work. My days are stressful and I never feel like cooking or cleaning after work. I have made it my goal to meal plan and prep in order to make work nights easier. I will try to always go to bed with a clean kitchen, my lunch packed, and my outfit prepared for the next day.
  5. Focus on Healthy Living. I have gained a lot of weight since the wedding. I stopped eating healthy and working out. It was nice not to have to worry about fitting in an expensive wedding dress or looking good in pictures but it’s gotten bad. I am having a hard time looking in the mirror, fitting into my clothes, and having positive thoughts about myself. I just want to start eating healthier, walking more, and drinking more water. I don’t want to doing any extreme fad diet because they are bad for my mental health. I just want to respect my body again.
  6. Finish Our Wedding Thank You Notes. I am such a slacker and I hate myself for it. Writing all of these thank you notes stress me out. I am so grateful for everyone who helped us decorate, drive shuttle cars, and clean up after the wedding. I am thankful for everyone who brought us gifts or gave us money. It’s just so hard for me to convey how grateful I am in a note.

So there’s a few things that I am working on in the beginning of 2018. Financial freedom, healthy living, and future planning. It’s going to be a great year!

What are your goals for 2018?

Thanks for reading!

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Thred-Up: First Impressions

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Hello! I’m back with my first impressions of Thred-Up!

If you have never heard of Thred-Up, it is basically an online secondhand store. The website is organized by different categories (shirts, pants, shoes, etc.) but you can also search for the items or brands that you are looking for.

My mom, sister, and I love shopping secondhand, especially at our local Clothes Mentor. We usually find great deals on name brand clothing and a lot of times they are brand new with tags. I like to constantly refresh my wardrobe which would not be possible if I paid full price.

After watching Janssen’s (Everyday Reading) recent Instagram story of her Thred-Up haul I knew that I wanted to make an order. I had searched the website before but nothing ever stood out to me. A couple of weeks ago I looked before bed and a few things caught my eye. I couldn’t sleep that night and the next morning I woke up to an e-mail receipt from Thred-Up. I couldn’t really remember making the order but after looking at my purchases I was pleasantly surprised.

Like I mentioned, I have looked at Thred-Up several times before and could never find anything I wanted to buy and found the website to be a bit frustrating. However, after spending a little time I realized that I could filter the whole website to only show you my sizes. That feature is life changing and I ended up finding a ton of things that I liked in my size.

I have an ongoing list of clothing items that I would like to add to my closet. One of the main things I needed was pants for work. I was able to order three pairs of petite work pants. Two pairs I already owned in different colors. The Talbots pair was new for me but for only $11.99 I could not pass it up! Please see the below list of items:

 

  • The Limited – Grey Dress Pants: $19.99
  • Talbots – Navy Dress Pants: $11.99
  • Ann Taylor LOFT – Black Skirt: $19.99
  • Banana Republic Factory – Navy Dress Pants: $24.99
  • Ann Taylor Factory – Printed Corduroy Skirt: $5.99
  • Ellen Tracy – Printed Dress: $23.99
  • J. Crew Factory – Navy Sleeveless Peplum Shirt: $7.99
  • J. Crew Factory – Cream Lace Short Sleeve Shirt: $8.99
  • Gap – Navy Short Sleeve Shirt: $7.99
  • Columbia – Grey Jacket: $23.99
  • Gap – Charcoal Sweater: $16.99

 

 

Overall, I am super happy with my purchases! I really wasn’t expecting to like everything but I do. I am still waiting on the Banana Republic dress pants to arrive but I am hopeful that I will love them too! I will for sure be shopping on Thred-Up again. The best part of the whole thing was that I received 40% off (up to $50) for being a first time customer. So my order ended up being super affordable and everything was in really good condition.

Let me know if you have had any experiences with Thred-Up! Thanks for reading!

 

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*This is an unsponsered post. All of the opinions expressed are 100% my own. The link provided is a referral link. If you use the link to make a purchase we will both get a $10 Thred-Up credit.