The Big Move

I have been struggling to get back into blogging because I feel like I built myself into this little box of strictly “fashion” posts and that you guys, the people who take time to read my blog, came here for those posts and nothing more. I’ve been wanting to write about so much more though. So… I hope that’s okay. If it’s not, I will still have fashion posts here and there so feel free to stick around.
This post is going to be about moving out…all on your own.
I know most of you are probably thinking: been there, done that.
But for me, this is a totally new experience.
I stayed in my hometown for college and lived at home to save money so this is the first time I have ever lived away from my parents AND the first time I have ever lived completely on my own–no roommates.
I must say, it has been quite the learning experience and has changed me in more ways than I think I am even aware of.
Let’s start with the pros:
1. I am in a brand new city.
This is a pro for me for a few reasons. I am in a new place that I get to explore and learn about every single day but I am also in a place where I can essentially start over. No one knows me and I know no one; it’s a blank slate. This might be my favorite part about moving out. I am so happy that I get to shape a new life for myself in a new place.
2. I get to decorate a whole apartment exactly how I want.
This has been SO. MUCH. FUN. My bank account might not be over the moon about it but I sure am. I love getting to express myself through the decorations in my home, it’s the best feeling. If you would be interested in seeing a little apartment tour, let me know! I’d love to show you all what I’ve done with the place.
3. I don’t have to worry about anyone else’s schedule.
I can shower when I want to, play music when I want to, and walk around in my underwear when I want to. What more could I ask for? T-Swift dance parties in my underwear on Saturday mornings have become a tradition and I love it.
4. I am learning to be even more independent.
Anyone who knew me before I moved out was aware that I have always been a very independent person but this trait of mine has multiplied tenfold. It still surprises me sometimes, if we are being honest. Paying bills, grocery shopping, fixing things, installing technology, etc. I’m forced to do it all on my own and while sometimes it is a bit intimidating (ex. taking an uber to the E.R. because I couldn’t drive myself and didn’t have anyone else to drive me), it has made me realize that I am perfectly capable on my own and that I don’t have to rely on anyone for anything: I got this.
5. My mental health is thriving.
Not to drag Bakersfield too hard but it is a black hole. Too harsh? My bad. #SorryNotSorry. While there, I struggled to feel motivated to accomplish dreams of mine and progress in life. Getting out has been one of the best things to happen to my mental health and I honestly can’t stress that enough. Sometimes a break from what you’re used to day-in and day-out is exactly what you need to get better; give it a shot sometime.
The cons:
1. It is really hard being away from family and friends.
I am fortunate to have such a great relationship with my mom but it makes being far away VERY difficult. She is my best friend so not being able to sit on the couch and watch the Bachelor with her is tough but thank goodness for modern technology that allows us to text and call each other. Most of my friends left Bakersfield right after college so I got used to missing them fairly quickly but I made some great friends at my last job before leaving that I miss a ton. I didn’t expect to make friends so quickly and hoped I’d be able to leave Bakersfield without many strings attached but that didn’t work out. It sucks at times but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
2. Life can get lonely sometimes.
I am typically someone who thoroughly enjoys being alone. I like to spend about 90% of my life entirely solo but that last 10%, I really wish I had someone to talk to. The girl who does my lash extensions and my personal trainer get their ears talked off because in those moments, I finally have someone to talk to who kinda has to listen! Haha. I appreciate them a lot because I’m sure my rambling can be a bit much. If you are someone who needs to be around people a lot to be happy, definitely consider a roommate. I have seen plenty of people let their mental health suffer because they are too isolated. Don’t do that to yourself.
3. It ain’t cheap.
Living on your own is not cheap. At all. I have never been great at saving/conserving money (sorry, Mom) but this is something I had to learn rather quickly when I moved out. Once the bills start rolling in and you realize it’s all on you, your brain shuts off the desire to shop pretty quick and you go into survival mode. I’m a penny-pincher now! Haha.
If you have any questions about my experience, definitely reach out. I love getting to share with other people and answer questions. It can definitely be a daunting experience so I’m more than happy provide some insight!
Moving out has helped me grow so much and I am so glad that I can look back at who I was a year ago and not even recognize her. I am becoming more and more like the woman I aspire to be and I am super proud of myself. Heck yes I am going to toot my own horn about this: I am thriving!
Thanks for stopping by and reading this week’s post!
Talk to you all soon. ❤

Stepping Outside of My Comfort Zone

This post is going to be comprised of quite a few firsts for me.
I have tried to avoid anything too deep or personal on my blog
for a number of reasons.
Yes, I, like many people, am worried about the judgment that may come from sharing my personal thoughts and feelings on my blog but I finally decided that it’s MY blog for a reason and if I want to discuss something.. I should feel comfortable doing so.
So to those of you who are here to read what I have to say and find pleasure in the insights of others, thank you.
I love sharing the inner workings of my brain with people like you.
And for those of you here to tell me I’m wasting my time and that no one cares about what I have to say, thank you. You are only upping my view count 😉
So here we go…
I’m stepping outside of my comfort zone in this blog post to tell you about the ways I have stepped outside of my comfort zone in 2018.
This year is off to a great start and I am excited to share it all with you.
For starters, 2017 was hands down the worst year of my life.
It was full of my lowest lows and deepest sadness…
Someone really close to me enjoys writing poetry and wrote this about me:
She smiles, she laughs, she sings…
but she also cries, sobs, and sleeps.
Her smiles are rays of sun
but only because it’s her way
of screaming for help without making noise.
Reading that was definitely a reality check.
I had let hardships in my life start to affect the person I knew I was at my core and I hated it. I knew I needed to start looking at the areas of my life causing me pain in a different way and learn from them rather than letting them hurt me.
In the end, they taught me so much about myself and I can honestly say that I am beyond proud of the person who came out the other side.
If you know me at all, you know that I have the HARDEST time opening up to people.
(I guess that’s why it has taken me so long
to even post something this personal on my blog.)
I have never been out on a date with someone who I had not previously spent PLENTY of time around as either friends or in a group of people.
Yes, I was in a relationship with a guy for two years
who I never even technically went on a first date with.
Sooooo, when a week into 2018 a *super* cute guy I had never actually spent time with asked me out on a date, I PANICKED.
Let me tell you, I can put on quite the show and play it off incredibly well…
but on the inside, I was dying.
I suppose he may disagree
buuut…hey, I thought I was as cool as a cucumber.
Everyone always assumes that I am super comfortable in front of other people all the time which, for the most part, is true but there was something about this guy.
He got the best of my nerves and I’m still in disbelief.
I took a GIANT leap outside of my comfort zone and you know what?
It was amazing.
I had such a great time and was genuinely happy.
That’s what life is all about, right?
So I will definitely count that as a win.
*Side Note: For those of you who may be wondering, “cute guy” and I have yet to go on a second date but never say never. Ha!
Breaking out of my comfort zone part 1? Success.
Part 2?
Paige and I took a trip to Iceland!
You can read all about the details HERE
but I’ll fill you in on why it was a step outside my comfort zone.
My only trips outside of the country have been to Mexico, Canada and Costa Rica.
If you know anything at all about those three countries, I speak the predominant language in each so I felt at ease.
In Iceland, that was a whole other story.
While most people there did speak English, getting around was TOUGH.
Sometimes questions were lost in translation and the public buses? Don’t even get me started on those. It was so confusing because none of the words made any sense…
but we figured it out!
We made a couple of mistakes along the way but it was all worth it.
10/10 would go back to Iceland.
Part 3?
I am teaching a SPANISH class on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
You read that right: Spanish.
While I have become confident in my abilities and trust that I can at least teach others the bare minimum.. it is still very nerve-racking to stand in front of a group of people and teach a language that you are not fluent in.
I give myself a pat on the back every single day after class.
Go Hayley!
Part 4 is still in the works.
Most of you may not know but I am actually in the process of applying to law school.
I know, a rather last-minute decision especially considering I got a degree in biology.
With that in mind AND the fact that I will be moving out of my house and living on my own in a matter of months, I’m going to count that as breaking out of my comfort zone too. I will be sure to keep you posted on how it goes.
With all of that being said,
I have to tell you that doing things that make you uncomfortable are the BEST.
I recently started watching the channel “Yes Theory” on YouTube and I am completely inspired by their desire to do things that make them uneasy. Their motto is “Seek Discomfort” and I’ve decided to adopt that saying to help push me in a direction that is helping me grow.
So do something that scares you!
It’s a rush and takes a lot of convincing…
but the sense of accomplishment you feel once it is all over is UNREAL.
Give it a shot and let me know how it goes for you.
I can’t wait to let you all know what I get up to next.
Yet another side note: do you guys like these posts that are more conversational than fashion/photo oriented? I know I didn’t include any photos in this post so I’m wondering if that makes it less entertaining. Feel free to send some feedback my way!
To live greatly, we must develop the capacity to face trouble with courage, disappointment with cheerfulness, and triumph with humility.
Thomas S. Monson

Exploring Iceland!

I am so excited to finally be writing this post
and am so happy to finally share it with all of you.
It’s actually an interesting story how this trip even came about
so I’ll give you the back story first.
There is a website called Pomelo Travel that sends out emails about cheap flights around the world and it is completely FREE! Because Paige and I have been itching to travel again, we decided to keep our eye on the emails starting November 1st and book the first ticket that was $250 or less, no matter where it was to. So, after a few days, I got an email at work for a ticket to Reykjavik, Iceland for $225.
We booked it on the spot and didn’t look back.
Fast forward to January and we had purchased the snow boots, jackets and other essentials for surviving in the cold and snow. We Bakersfield girls knew we were going to be in for a surprise if we didn’t prepare. However, we insisted on making it there with only a backpack. There were plenty of people who said we were crazy for trying to spend  a week in Iceland with only the things we could fit in our backpacks (you know who you are) but we did it! We had just enough to get us through the week and were incredibly efficient. If you would like to see what our packing list looked like, just let me know.
I’d be happy to share.
Day 1:
We left LAX at 11am on a Tuesday and landed at 4am in Iceland on Wednesday. The time zone change severely messed with our bodies but I’ll get into that later.
When we finally landed, we knew nothing would be open in the city so we spent some time in the airport charging our phones, exchanging currencies and booking shuttle tickets to our hotel. It was a tension-filled day because we were both exhausted and didn’t expect to be allowed to check into our hotel until 3pm so we knew it would be a bit of a waiting game. Our shuttle took us to a bus station downtown around 7:30am and we took a taxi from there to our hotel. I say hotel when in reality, we were staying in a quaint apartment building that was absolutely adorable. Unfortunately, the front office didn’t open until 9am so we were sat in the lobby waiting for about an hour. The biggest of shoutouts to the woman working that day; she let us check-in to our room 5-6 hours earlier than we technically should have been allowed to and we were beyond grateful. Needless to say, we both took a shower and PASSED OUT.
So thank you, Icelandic Apartments. You got our trip to Iceland started on the best foot.
We didn’t wake up until about 8pm and, since the sun is only up from 10am to about 4:30pm during the winter, most of the food options around our apartment were already closed. With another stroke of luck, we found a little shop open across the street with FANTASTIC hot dogs. Come to find out, Iceland is known for their hot dogs and I completely agree with the hype they receive.
We revisited that restaurant multiple times before we left.
Day 2:
Our goal for this day was to go grocery shopping so that we could save some money and cook in our apartment. If there’s one thing you should note about Iceland, it is VERY expensive. So make sure you go in with that mindset, otherwise you will be in for a rude awakening. Lucky for us, there was a kitchen in our apartment and a grocery store across the street so we got our boots on and made a little trek over. Me being, well, me…I decided it would be hilarious to throw a giant snowball at Paige. My karma came rather instantly because as I ran to catch up to her after launching the snowball, I slipped on black ice and fell onto my back. In an attempt at preventing injury, I stuck my arm out to brace myself but that split-second plan ended up backfiring when I landed on my elbow. I haven’t experienced pain like that in a while and was thoroughly convinced that I had broken it and would be making a trip to the hospital. We finished up with the grocery shopping and went back to the apartment. I was still in a ton of pain so Paige, being the lovely little sister she is, went to the drug store and found me some ibuprofen. She also grabbed a ziploc bag and filled it up with snow as a makeshift ice pack. Innovation at its finest, ladies and gents. We ended up spending the rest of the day at home in the hopes that icing my elbow enough would make it completely better by the next day.
Day 3:
Thankfully, we woke up this morning and my elbow was just a little sore so we were ready to go exploring! Our apartment had the most beautiful view of a neighborhood and lake which we KNEW we had to go explore. On our walk there, we had a blast playing in the snow. Paige and I have never had the chance to play in the snow so we were like two little kids on Christmas morning. Paige made a snow angel, we built a tiny snowman and threw a lot of snow at each other. We eventually crossed a cute little river and made our way to the lake; it was incredible. I wish that pictures were able to do it all justice because the view was breathtaking; I could’ve stayed there forever and can only imagine how lovely it must be to own a house right next to that lake and wake up to that view every day. Maybe I’ll buy a vacation home there some day? Who knows 😉




Day 4-5:
These days were also spent exploring and were kind of a blur. Remember when I said that the time zone change really messed us up? Just imagine this: we were awake at 4am and I was running around the apartment in my underwear, a t-shirt and some socks pretending to be Tom Cruise in “Risky Business.” Our sleep schedule was so out of whack and trying to adjust was nearly impossible. It came down to us having to completely exhaust ourselves throughout the day to finally force our bodies to fall asleep when everyone in Iceland was sleeping. Of course, because it’s just the way the universe works sometimes, our sleep schedule didn’t get on track until day 6. Perfect timing, right?
Day 6:
Today was probably our favorite day of the entire trip. We went into downtown Reykjavik and spent hours walking around. Our goal was simply to see as much as we possibly could and get a really good feel for the city. Naturally, our first stop was the Icelandic Phallological Museum. Yes, that is exactly what you think it is: an entire museum dedicated to mammals’ penises. We were the most immature people there by far but had an absolute blast (and the souvenirs are HYSTERICAL). There was a ramen place across the street from the museum that I had read about before we left on our trip so I was so happy to kill two birds with one stone. Paige isn’t a fan of ramen so I got to enjoy Noodle Station all by myself. I loved it. Next, we happened upon the largest church in Iceland! One of the happiest accidents of our entire trip. It is a lutheran church called Hallgrímskirkja and is one of the tallest buildings in Iceland. Another one of those places I think pictures won’t ever do justice; it was simply beautiful and gave us a lot of wonderful opportunities for photos. As we walked along a path that took us right next to the Atlantic Ocean, we came across this beautiful sculpture made to resemble a viking ship. It is called the Sun Voyager and was created by Jón Gunnar Árnason. It is said that Árnason “intended it to convey the promise of undiscovered territory, a dream of hope, progress and freedom,” an idea that I absolutely loved. Life, in general, is undiscovered territory and full of hope. Everywhere you look, you can find something new and another reason to hope for a bright and beautiful future. This day in particular reminded me about my love for the world around me and just how spectacular it can be if you open your eyes and take a good look around you.




(Yes, that is a whale’s penis. Enjoy.)
Day 7:
This day was a long struggle with a fantastic reward at the end. We started out the day with some of the best pizza I have ever had (Iceland, you are doing it right) and headed to the location where we were SUPPOSED to meet the shuttle that would be taking us to the Blue Lagoon. We were a bit lost, a bit confused and ended up on the wrong bus. It, unfortunately, took us to a location we were not supposed to be at and the company responsible for the bus we rode refused to let us ride it back to where we were picked up so we had to walk all the way back. While many people would be angry in a situation like this, I laughed the whole walk back. Mishaps and incidents like that make for some of the best memories when you are traveling and the best thing you can do during those moments is laugh because at the end of the day, there isn’t a single thing that being upset will do for you. We finally made it back to our spot, got on the CORRECT shuttle and arrived at the infamous Blue Lagoon. Paige and I were SO excited and it was everything you see in pictures and more. By the time we arrived, the sun had already set so it was pitch black outside which, in my opinion, only added to our experience. Some of the couples there would most certainly agree with me. *shudder* We were exhausted by the end of our time there but still mustered up the energy to grab a bite to eat at a nice restaurant downtown before taking the bus back to our apartment.
Obviously, we passed out as soon as we walked through the door.
Day 8:
We were not ready to leave this beautiful country but know we will be back (hopefully in the summer next time). After our backpacks were packed, we headed to a bakery across the street for breakfast and took one more walk over to our beautiful lake lookout. Our shuttle picked us up from the apartment building,
dropped us off at the airport
and we hopped onto our plane back to the states.
I am already dreaming of my next trip to Iceland because there are so many things I wanted to do while we were there that would have been much more enjoyable in warmer weather and with a bit more daylight to work with. For our next trip, I hope to take a day tour of the Golden Circle, snorkel the continental divide and maybe, if we have the time, rent a car to drive around the entire country. There is a road that encompasses the entire country and seems like the perfect adventure. Anyone want to join me?
All in all, it was the trip of a lifetime and something I will never forget.
We are so fortunate to be able to travel and experience different cultures
and I will never take that for granted.
I cannot wait for our next trip.
Until then, friends.

Carnival Cruise to Mexico!

I HAVE to start this post by giving my best friend
a HUGE shout out.
Halie took me on a cruise for my birthday/graduation and
it was a BLAST.
Because it was so much fun,
I just had to tell you all about it incase you are
looking for an inexpensive vacation
that is SO much fun.
DAY 1:
Day one was a mess.
We were stuck in traffic and BARELY made it onto the boat.
we ran through the doors with just three minutes
to spare and they let us on!
The employees were SO kind and helpful.
Carnival, thank you.
You guys are great.
So once we were on the boat,
we got settled,
ate dinner,
explored the boat..
and crashed.
DAY 2:
We made it to Ensenada
and decided to take a topless bus tour.
We got to see all over the city,
hopped off and had AMAZING tacos,
and even got to go to the infamous
Papas and Beer.
After we got back on the boat,
we ate.. a lot.
Went to a comedy show or two.
Went to the night club and danced ALL night.
It was an absolute blast.
DAY 3:
Today was spent at sea,
so we spent our day at the pool laying out.
We ate some more,
went to an “Epic Rock Show”
(think Rock of Ages)
and went to a Piano Bar
where we sat around a piano and sang classics all night.
Probably my favorite night.
DAY 4:
We were back in Long Beach
which meant it was time to get off the boat.
It was such a smooth process,
Carnival really has the whole process nailed.
I am SO glad we got to go on this trip.
Definitely wish we had more time in Mexico
but I guess that just means we will have to go back!
If you guys have any questions about the cruise
or Ensenada,
comment on this post or email me!
I’d be happy to help!
See you in the next post!

Where I’ve Been…

Hayley still writes her blog?

Say whaaat.

I know, I know.
It’s been forever since I’ve jumped on here and talked to you guys.
Needless to say,
I have been BUSY.
So let’s recap, shall we?
Major Events You Missed:
1. I TURNED 21!
I finished my last day of classes the day before my birthday so I got to sleep in, relax and enjoy a day to myself.. and study a bit for finals.
Paige bought me these awesome balloons and confetti poppers!
These were intense. I did not expect them to explode as big/loud as they did…
so if you are on the market for some crazy confetti explosives,
head to Party City.
Anyways, it was a great day. I had so much fun!



Dress: Shop Stevie – $42

I finally graduated from CSUB with my Bachelor’s in Biology!
I know it was only three years but let me tell you..
it felt like an eternity while it was happening but feels like only a couple of days in retrospect.
I am so grateful for all of the wonderful professors I had and the friends that I made.
I could not be any happier with the experience that I had
and I can’t wait to see what’s next.
3. I got to be a bridesmaid in my best friend’s wedding!
And try my hand at video graphing 😉
In April, I got to watch Alexa marry Connor for eternity in the Oakland Temple!
It was absolutely beautiful, they are hilarious and I wish them all the best.
You can check out the video that I made of their special day by clicking HERE!



I think that’s it?
I have been working and finishing up school for the past few months.
Throw in a little Shop Stevie
and this post accurately sums up my life since…
well, since the semester started!



I am excited to start traveling
and exploring with all of my free time.
I can’t wait to take you all along with me.
Stay tuned!
P.S. Working on my own little photography gig so if you’re itching to have your photo taken, shoot me an email!

Gift Guide for Your Guy!

With finals happening right around Christmas time,
I always end up putting off my Christmas shopping…
But this year I tried to plan ahead!
if you’re anything like me and you still need some ideas,
let me help!
Buying gifts for Josh was a bit harder this year since he’s serving in the military.
He isn’t able to take a lot of things with him and rarely gets to wear civilian clothes
so that eliminated a lot of ideas for me.
(I like to buy clothes for him. Styling men is as fun as styling women for me!)
But, have no fear, I racked my brain
and came up with a list of things I knew he’d love and would find useful!
We’ll call this:
“Gift Guide for Your Guy- Marine Edition”
I recently received one of these watches for myself and fell in love.
The look of them is so unique and unlike any watch I’ve seen before.
I mean, come on.. a watch made out of wood?!
They’re awesome!
So when I went on their website and saw that they had watches for men..
well.. you know I had to get Josh one too.
Forcing him to match with me..
yes, I’m THAT girlfriend..
I can’t wait to see his reaction and catch him wearing his watch on our next date 😉
You can enter the giveaway for my subscribers by clicking HERE!
You could win a free watch AND everyone who enters will automatically receive $25 off!
Alright.. this one might seem like a lame gift to receive on Christmas but let me explain:
In boot camp, all of the soon-to-be Marines had to wear tighty whiteys
and Josh HATED it.
He only has a couple pairs of decent underwear with him
and has been begging me for some..
So this just might be his favorite part of his Christmas gift!
This is DEFINITELY my favorite part of his gift.
My mom has personalized M&Ms for family members in the past
and I always thought that it was the cutest idea in the world.
So when I got a nifty little coupon from them,
I decided to make Josh his very own M&Ms!
(Use code “HOLIDAYCHEER” by 12/20 for 25% off!)
I chose Marine Corps colors..
Wrote “I love you” and “PFC Vasquez”..
And included his favorite picture of us from his boot camp graduation!
I love that he’ll be able to feed his hungry tummy
AND remember how much I love him at the same time!
Hopefully the mushy, gushy picture and phrases
will keep his roommates out of his candy 😉
Before you think, “You bought your boyfriend leggings!?” let me explain:
They make mens leggings for wearing UNDER shorts or pants.
I bought Josh a really cool, army green colored pair
because he always says how cold he is
and they are fleece-lined…
so they’ll be perfect for wearing under his cammies so he doesn’t freeze his butt off!
Another thing that most guys might think would might be a lame Christmas present,
but Josh is going to be over the moon.
Some foods at the PX on base are a bit more expensive than they are out here in the civilian world.. and Gatorade powder is a bit harder to come by.
He doesn’t have the room to keep cases of Gatorade bottles in his room
so this will be perfect!
I’m also going to buy him a couple boxes of Mini Wheats
because $5 per box on base is CRAZY!
And that’s it!
Hope this list helped you finish off Christmas gifts for your main man…
and don’t forget to enter my JORD Wood Watch giveaway!
Stay tuned for a list of what I’m hoping for for Christmas this year 😉
Happy Holidays, friends!
Talk to you all soon!

Wooden Wristwatch