Holiday Home at 25 — the good, the bad, the sparkly.

You caught me. I’m secretly a 35+ year old homemaker/interior designer wanna-be living in a 25 year old struggling young adult body. If you know me at all, you’ll know that I’ve encapsulated my epic dreams of a beautiful life in countless Pinterest boards (side note: I am planning to devote a whole day to curating and updating my boards because that’s how Martha Steward I am), and I do my best to make those visions of usually unattainable perfection come true.

But, when the reality of being a broke, just-recently-got-her-first-big-girl apartment and corporate job is looming overhead but you still want to decorate your apartment with the most stunning holiday cheer, you have to get a little creative, but more importantly, you have to be willing to accept that your apartment will not come close to Pinterest perfect, and that’s okay.

Overall, I think my shabby-chic starter apartment has been decked for the season quite nicely, even if it’s not ready for the Magnolia Journal spotlight yet. This year, I really wanted to decorate, and I’m not talking about setting up two-feet tinsel tree and calling it a day (although those are still mighty cute!!). It may seem silly and like a waste of money for a paycheck-to-paycheck city-living gal, but the idea of fully decorating my home for the holidays makes me feel more adult than I probably am, so, I partook in trimming the tree and decking the halls, and here’s what I discovered:

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Christmas decorations are expensive.

Okay, this is actually not news to me, but when you’re using your own money and not just supporting your mother in buying yet another white Santa Clause for her ever growing collection, you start to realize just how much money is hanging on your tree and mantel. Needless to say, I spent a small fortune this year in beginning to curate my own collection of Christmas decorations, but, I figured this stuff is worth a lifetime, right?

I did, however, save money where I could. Here are some tips for not breaking the bank on your first Christmas decor extravaganza:

1. Never buy anything full price.

Did your mother ever teach you to be a sale shopper? Well, if she didn’t, you can take a page out of my mom’s playbook, because for as long as I can remember, there were very few things that she ever bought at full-price, and she has still managed to create a beautiful home. So whip out your sales flyers, your coupons, laptops for you online shoppers, and a cup of coffee and make a plan! Think of everything you may need to make your Winter Wonderland dreams come true, and get organized. Check out my Christmas Decor Starter Kit at the end of this post!

This year, I sat down with my family on Thanksgiving after we stuffed our faces and scoured the sales ads as we usually do, but this year I was looking for the best decoration deals. Luckily, I found some MAJOR scores. Between Black-Friday deals and shopping at my beloved TJMaxx/Homegoods, I came home with a $30 pre-lit tree, $30 worth of ornaments, a $10 tree topper, $25 tree skirt and $10 in random items to add Christmas cheer. All in all, I clocked in at just about $100 for these starter items, which spread across the next few years, is a stellar deal!

Missed Black Friday deals? Here’s a hint: go shopping the day after Christmas. Not to return those socks you got from grandma for store credit like all those other crazies out there, but to stock up on holiday all decorations, wrapping, and fixings. Pretty much everything is half-off or more, and trust me, this is the time to stock up so you don’t have to rush out the next holiday season! Some of my favorite places to after-Christmas day shop are Target, Hobby Lobby/Michaels, local nurseries that sell holiday items, and of course, TJMaxx/Homegoods.

2. Take stock of what you already have and SHOP AT HOME 🙂

So while I spent $100 to get me started, this didn’t quite cover everything I needed, but my mom’s backstock sure did! If you can’t tell by now, my mother and I share the same love of household decorations, and she has quite the compilation (it rivals museum status) of holiday decor. So much so, that she doesn’t use all of it anymore, which means I was able to go shopping in our basement and claim some of her gently loved left-overs! I came home with mini decorative trees, gold garland for the tree, green garland, silver tinsel garland, floral and sparkly picks, lights, and a few old family ornaments. This helped subsidize cost, and more importantly, allowed me to bring a little piece of my childhood home into my apartment. Next time you’re at your parents house, go exploring!

3. Suck it up and know that you’ll have to shell out some cash, but know where to draw the line.

Okay, yes, this stuff costs money. Is it a necessity to live? Probably not. And is this one of the most first world posts ever of all time? One hundred percent. But, if you’re gonna do it, then do the dang thing and spend some money on this stuff. Like I said, if you buy right, these will be items that sit snuggly in the back of your closet and make their debut during the most magical time of the year for years to come. So, be okay with spending some mula knowing that your dollar will be stretched over decades.

BUT, don’t go crazy. If anyone recorded me while shopping in any decoration or craft section of a store, I think I might literally look like the heart eye emoji, and my receipts could be proof of temporary insanity. However, I was actually pretty good this year, and avoided purchasing every sparkly thing in sight. So, when you go in with your plan as discussed, make sure you put your blinders on and don’t be duped by the glitter and frills that can quickly add up to extra dollars at the register (remember, wait for those after Christmas sales!)

Choosing a Christmas theme is hard (so don’t).

Walk into any Christmas section of any store, and you will realize that there is Christmas decor for just about any taste and style. Traditional, modern, pastel, red, green, silver and gold, Dr. Suess, etc. And the thing is, IT’S ALL CUTE. How can a girl ever choose?! I have a hard enough time looking at a menu and deciding what will satisfy my tummy for lunch! Pro tip? Choose a theme for your main tree and dec out a mini tree in another.

Decorating is messy, and takes much longer than you think.

Prepare for literally AT LEAST a full day of decking the halls. Why? First you have to brainstorm where you want to display all your fun new decor. Then comes the task of actually setting up the tree, hanging all the garland, trimming, hanging ornaments, taking coffee breaks, changing the Christmas music ten times, taking snapchats.. I mean… oh, don’t pretend you’re not going to do it. Your garland will probably fall five times before it sticks because Command Strips are like Sour Patch kids and only want to cooperate on their terms. And then of course the worst part, the clean up. Whether it’s pieces of tinsel, pine needles, or glitter (good luck), you’re gonna need to whip out that vacuum before your place looks like you beautified it.

Your Christmas cheer will skyrocket exponentially.

When all is said and done, and even if your place looks more like a third grader tried her hand at decorating than Joanna Gaines, you will feel proud and your heart will grow 10 sizes. Something about coming home to rooms filled with holiday lights is so warm, it even melts my usually black soul. So, if you have yet to trim your tree, spark up your holiday cheer and deck those halls!

My Wrigleyville Holiday Home; a tour.

The centerpiece and most integral part of any Christmas decoration set: THE TREE!

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I got my most perfect starter tree at Target! Doesn’t it look cozy with that fur tree skirt? Homegoods, of course. And that sparkly pillow? $4 find at Menards of all places!

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Every tree deserves the most beautiful topper, and this $10 find was scouted at Homegoods!

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Think you can only decorate your tree with ornaments? Liven up your branches with fun add-ons like bows and picks! Pictured ornaments are mix of sets from Menards and Homegoods, the bows were hand-tied by yours truly, and the floral picks are from Michaels!

Mini-tree for cuteness!

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Here’s where I pulled in a second theme of classic red, as opposed to the main tree of champagne, gold and blush! I kept the bow theme though, because bows are adorable.

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While I purchased a slew of new ornaments for my big tree, I stole some vintage family ornaments to tie in a sense of childhood magic for my mini-tree. Also, peep that $3 Target holiday frame in the background!

Garland and other holiday touches!

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Don’t forget to add a little holiday cheer to your entry way!

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This silver garland was stolen from my mom’s attic, and those little snowflake lights? $3 from Target.

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I also snagged these adorable trees from Mom!

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This sign? Crafted. If you want to up your decorating game, try making your own decorations! It’s often times cheaper, and more fun to say you made it yourself!

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Back to the bows and picks! Spice up any garland with these add-ins.

Don’t forget the bedroom!

You don’t have to go overboard for this, but bring a little holiday something-something into your room to really feel the holiday cheer!

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Christmas Decor Starter Kit

  • Tree (update, you can still get my tree for $41.99 here!)
  • Tree Skirt
  • Tree Topper
  • Tree Trimmings
  • Tree Picks
  • Full set of classic ornaments
  • Mini ornaments for the tippy top of the tree
  • Strands of garland for window and door frames
  • A mini tree for cuteness
  • Family ornaments
  • Strands of lights
  • Sparkly/floral picks of garland
  • Ribbon (unless you don’t like bows, and if so you are wrong)
  • Command hooks
  • Nails
  • Hammer
  • Extension cords
  • Batteries
  • Misc. cute decor items (but remember, don’t go crazy)

I’d LOVE to see your festive decor! Share in the comments or post on insta and tag me @haleighhayy!


thrive & be bold.



Self-care Sunday – My current obsessions!

In the age of self-care being at the forefront of beauty and health trends (with no signs of slowing down moving into 2018), I thought I’d share a few of my go-to favorites that I have on hand right now!

With dry winter air, holiday indulgences and busy schedules in full swing, it’s quite the task trying to take care of yourself! But when I get the chance (this weekend was a much needed relaxing one!), I make sure to take a few moments to give my skin and curly locks the love they desperately need! bioclarity

Alright, you all should know by now that I’m a huge Bachelor fan, if only for the mere fact that it provides me something hilarious to watch and recap with my long-distance best friend, Elizabeth, every week. Well, I found this little gem from listening to my girl Ashley Iaconetti’s “I Don’t Get It” Podcast (not an endorsed plug, but you should listen to it). She kept promoting it during her podcast (#sponsored), and for a while I thought meh, she’s getting paid to praise it. But, as many of you also know, I’ve been dealing with some hormonal imbalances which is a breeding ground for acne problems. At a certain point, I got desperate, and using the code she provides in her podcast, I gave it a try.

I can HAPPILY say it has helped SO much!! Not only does it work, it doesn’t come along with any of the nasty side effects such as irritation and stinging that are often associated with astringent facial cleansers and acne products. It’s derived from all natural products, which is something I can get behind! If you’re interested in trying, I highly suggest listening to the podcast to grab that code to get your first month supply for less than $10!! What a STEAL.

biooilOkay guys, this stuff above is not just for stretch marks. Because of the before-mentioned acne troubles I have been plagued with the past few months, I’ve been left with some lovely scars and dark spots. While this stuff is no miracle worker in the sense of timeliness, if you’re consistent with it, it really does fade dark spots and scars pretty nicely. I just dab a bit on at night before I moisturize! (And no, for those of you concerned about putting MORE oil on your face, it does not cause any more acne #promise).

mymatchaThis stick is my new best friend. For real. I have followed Cocokind on instagram for AGES, but never pulled the trigger to try it until a co-worker whipped it out of her bag one day and started smearing it under her eyes. I naturally inquired what she was doing, and she began ranting and raving about this product! So, now that I’ve tried it for myself, let me assure you that this little, chunky stick is a multi-purpose miracle maker. I use it on my lips, under my eyes, on acne spots and any place I need a little extra moisture during these dry months. Smooth, creamy and anti-inflammatory, this stick packs the punch of all of matcha’s benefits.originsSo, this is not actually the charcoal mask I’m currently using (I found mine at Marshall’s and could not seem to find a link online), I’ve heard nothing but great things about Origins, so I’ve linked that one instead! BUT! In general, you need to get your hands on an active charcoal mask. Not only has it helped with my acne, it always leaves my skin feeling wonderfully smooth and squeaky clean. I’ve been applying a charcoal mask 1-2 times a week, and honestly, my face feels like a baby’s bum in all the best ways. Grab yours at TJMaxx/Marshalls (they always have an array of brands on the shelf),, or if you’re feeling adventurous and don’t mind a little mess, check out these DIY recipes and make your own!

NexxusFinally, don’t neglect your strands! Being a curly headed gal myself, keeping my hair properly moisturized is always a concern of mine, especially in the winter. Tip number one is not to over-wash (gotta keep those natural oils!), but tip number two is to always have a go-to masque or deep conditioner. I picked up this Nexxus Vitall 8-in-1 Rejuvenating Masque from CVS the other night, and I LOVED it! I woke up the next morning with my hair feeling SO soft and silky. Full of coconut oil and protein (yes, your hair needs protein, too!), my curls were thanking me for the extra love! Bonus: it smells divine!

If you end up trying any of these products, I’d love to hear your thoughts! (I know you’ll love them, thought). What are your favorite skin-care favorites for the winter? Something else I’m struggling with is bumpy skin during these dry months. Do you have a favorite moisturizer that helps with this? Comment below!


thrive & be bold.


We all scream for pineapple!

If you would have placed this quirky lookin’ fruit in front of me as a child, I would have quickly and adamantly turned you away (although I don’t think I ever actually tried it– what can I say, I was a picky child).

But currently, I’m having a love affair with these spiky balls of sunshine, and for more reasons than just the wonderfully sweetness you get with every bite!

PINEAPPLES ARE AWESOME!! They are chalk-full of health benefits and amazing nutrition. Everyone needs to go buy one ASAP (all of my midwest friends can find them on sale at Jewel for 77 cents currently– GO GO GO.)

This fruit packs a punch, and here are my favorite reasons why:

1. Anti-inflammatory benefits

Got joint pain? Sore from a kick-ass workout? Pineapple has got your back. Pineapple contains a little superhero called bromelain– a proteolytic enzyme that has crazy anti-inflammatory effects.

As someone who has suffered with Sjogren’s since the age of 9 (not a lot of people know about this, but for quick reference, it’s related to Rheumatoid Arthritis), I’ve always had a lot of joint pain and it is so easy to turn to pain-killers to help. But instead, try supplementing your diet with nature’s medicine cabinet 🙂

2. Digestive aide

Why eat a Fiber One bar when you could get the best fiber from pineapple? (Okay, I know why, because those things are weirdly delicious but also processed so ya know, moderation).

All fruit is great for fiber intake, but pineapple is a special little unicorn in the fact that it contains both soluble and insoluble fiber– meaning eating this badboy will keep you safe from all sorts of nasty and uncomfortable tummy issues, including IBS.

3. Immune system support

Got vitamin C? PINEAPPLE DOES.

We all know how important vitamin C is in maintaining our immune system, and a single serving of pineapple has a whopping 130% of your daily intake. Move over orange juice!

4. Oral and eye health

Pineapples are high in astringent agents, which means eatin’ some of this fruit will strengthen your gums and prevent tooth loss.

Now, I already have 20/20 vision, and I’d like to keep that for as long as possible! With a little help from my friend and it’s beta-carotene components, I’ll be warding off macular degeneration and boosting my eye health well into my grandmother years.

5. Prevents against arthritis, cancer and heart disease

In addition to the antioxidant powers from vitamin C, pineapples also are rockstars at providing other antioxidants, including vitamin A, beta carotene, bromelain, various flavonoid compounds, and high levels of manganese. Pineapples have been proven to provide fighting mechanisms against throat, mouth and breast cancer.

So there you have it. Go get yourself a cute little pineapple and enjoy!

We all scream for pineapple!

What are my favorite ways to eat pineapple?

  1. RAW! Make sure it’s ripe (the more yellow, the better!)
  2. Homemade Healthy Dolewhip

💛Greek yogurt (amount depending on desired thickness)
💛Dash of vanilla
💛 🍍chunks!! (3-4oz or else it’ll be too runny!)
💛 Bonus: Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides!


Leave your favorite ways to eat pineapple below!


thrive & be bold.


Quest Hero to the rescue! (Kinda)

If you know me at all, I’m all about finding macro friendly DELICIOUS foods. So, when Quest introduced their new Hero bars (I’m an avid fan of their norm Cookies ‘n’ Creme and recent Mocha protein bars), I, of course, had to get my hands on them ASAP.

Quest, using Gabby Douglas as spokeswoman for the newest addition to the product line, touts a big game surrounding these bars. Take a look:


A protein candy bar?! Seems too good to be true.

Before we get to my thoughts, one thing that is even more interesting than the superhero-like claims made about these bars is the ingredient list. To sweeten these bars, Quest uses a sweetener called Allulose.


Allulose is a naturally occurring sweetener found in nature that looks like sugar, bakes like sugar, tastes like sugar, but contains about a tenth of the calories of sugar! CRAZY, right?! Well, like any other food, it’s still all about moderation, as Allulose, although natural, can cause bloating if used in excess. It’ll be interesting to see where this bad guy starts popping up in other food items!

Check out some quick facts about the quickly emerging sweetening agent below!


Okay, so Gabby promised me a candy bar, and if we are are being 100% honest here, I’m left slightly disappointed.

The Blueberry Cobbler and Vanilla Caramel are yummy, don’t get me wrong, and just as promised, the Allulose doesn’t leave that nasty aftertaste that some sweeteners have. The texture is great– but do they taste like a candy bar? Hardly. I would compare them more to a breakfast bar, so if that’s your jam, these guys hit the mark!

BUT HAVE NO FEAR! Chocolate Caramel Pecan swoops in to the rescue!

At a slightly higher calorie and lower protein count (of course), THIS guy tastes like a candy bar. The chocolate is great, the caramel is gooey, the crisp base has the perfect amount of chewiness, and it’s all topped off with a subtle pecan taste. It tastes indulgent, but the calories aren’t quite as empty compared to devouring a Snickers. While I most likely won’t purchase the other two flavors again, this guy is earning a permanent spot in my pantry.

But hey, don’t listen to me! Go and try them for yourself. Have you tried them already? What were your thoughts? Leave a comment below!


thrive & be bold.

Summer Essentials|Friday Finds|

Here is a Friday Finds round-up SUMMER EDITION! Because even though the weather is saying otherwise, this girl is SO ready for the sunshine.

Here are a few essentials in my toolbox this season:

1. Greens & Protein

Ahh, summer– the season of bright, tropical colors. The most important one? GREENS! Now, I’m a salad and veggie lover, but even if you’re not too keen on them, they’re still a crucial part of your diet.

In addition to greens, something I’ve started focusing on is collagen. Did you know that collagen is the main protein found in our skin and connective tissues, and that as we age, we stop producing as much of it?

Cue Vital Proteins Collagen Beauty Greens!

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Packed with raw organic greens, hyaluronic acid, and probiotics, you can be sure that you’ll be glowing from the inside out with each scoop! Mix it in a smoothie and you’re good to go.

2. Color

We’re all looking for that natural glow in the summer, and I just found my new go-to for rosey, sun-kissed cheeks in a compact. Let me introduce you to Tarte’s Amazonian Clay 12-hour blush. This stuff is packed with pigment, needing just a little swipe and you’ll be looking like you spent a week on a tropical island (even if you just rolled out of bed in the Midwest).


3. Sunnies

Sunshine is fun, but along with sunshine comes another topic: protection! Yes, yes, our eyes need protecting from those sometimes blinding rays, but I’m all about making utility fashionable. When it comes to sunglasses, I’m never one to splurge because I either lose them or break them, so my go-to place for fashionable shades is good ole TJMaxx! I found these Nanette’s there for [drumroll] $8!

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4. Relaxation

Everyone deserves some R&R, and summer nights are just perfect for that. My favorite way to do it? A sweet candle and a good book!

Where to find the best candles? Would you be surprised if I said TJMaxx? Of course not 🙂 But my recent brand obsession is DW Home! Just look at all of the options! You can find so many of these at your local TJMaxx for around $7.

What book am I currently reading? Well, I’m finishing up Me Before You so that I can FINALLY watch the movie, so no spoilers please!


5. Safe Sun

As much as I love a real tan, a girl HAS to take care of her skin. So to make sure I don’t overdo it on the UV’s, I help myself with a little fake tan. A lot of self-tanners can break the bank, and I’m all about a good drugstore find! My favorite fake tanner? Jergans Natural Glow Instant Sun Mousse! This formula is SO easy to apply, is never streaky, and gives you a nice, subtle glow that is far from orange. You can pick it up at your local Target or drugstore of choice for around $13.

Tip: I get the Deep Bronze– I’ve tried the Light and it does not do much!


Those are just a few of my favorite things going into the summer season! What are your summer necessities?! Comment below!



The 25 Series: Bucketlist

You guys! It’s May 11th! The best day of the year! Make sure you go celebrate 😉

But for real, it’s my birthday, and I am now a quarter of a century. If you read my late-night post from last night, you’ll know that this post is the first in a series of many posts focusing on my 25th year of life. (If you didn’t check it out, you can read it here– The 25 Series)

As promised, I’m starting off the series with the first post ON MY BDAYYYY!

(yes, that was necessary)

So, to start off, I’m creating a bucketlist specifically for year 25. Like I mentioned in last night’s post, 25 is going to be big. It’s going to be pivotal– I can feel it. So why not embrace it?! I’m determined to do some memorable things in year 25 (so, if anyone wants to volunteer to hold me accountable to the following, that would be great lol).

The Bucketlist– Yr. 25 edition:

  1. Go Skydiving
  2. Travel somewhere new (Italy maybe… ya feel?)
  3. Apply to grad school
  4. Hang with some elephants
  5. Take a roadtrip
  6. Take a class to learn something new (any class, just something new)
  7. Read 25 books
  8. Watch 25 old movies
  9. Get my first big girl place
  10. Go to a broadway (Chicago style) show
  11. Find a place to volunteer
  12. Land an awesome career
  13. Take dance classes
  14. Adopt my own puppy 🙂
  15. Get creative with cooking and baking!
  16. Grow
  17. Practice photography
  18. Be able to do 25 pull-ups (more realistically, 10 but a girl can dream)
  19. Get 25 pairs of new shoes (my mom suggested this– think she’ll foot the bill?)
  20. Explore local Chicago businesses/restaurants/shops etc.
  21. Go to all Chicago museums
  22. Go on 25 dates (LOL why am I doing this to myself)
  23. Donate to 25 different causes
  24. Send 25 surprise gifts (more to come on this)
  25. Start every day with a thankful thought

So, there ya have it! I might add more, maybe do a mid-year edition. Who knows.

Edit to last night’s post: I WILL in fact be causing some ruckus tomorrow and celebrating, but just in my local townie bars because who doesn’t enjoy a good high-school reunion? (catch me on snap if you’d like a play-by-play: haybayy11)


thrive & be bold.


The 25 Series

Well, it’s just a little over an hour til midnight, aka tomorrow, aka May 11th, aka my birthday, aka MY FAVORITE DAY OF THE YEARRR!


While I do enjoy my birthday (because who doesn’t?), it’s actually never been a day full of hullabaloo and crazy shenanigans… okay, those words are making me sound like my mother… so it begins.

ANYWHO, like I said, I’ve never been the girl who had a sweet 16, or a crazy 21st banger that I can’t remember, so why should I have expected 25 to be much different?


(Please sense my sarcasm)

It’s not.

I fully intend to have a pretty normal day: wake up, go smash some donuts at my favorite local joint (Country Donuts for any of you Northwest Chicago burb folks), hit the gym, Mom will take me shopping because while yes I’m turning 25 I’m still my mama’s baby, have a fam dinner, apply for some jobs because #unemployed, and reflect.

Yes, reflect.

And I’ve already started. For me, 25 is arriving loud and proud with a lot of life changes. I ended my contract job that I’ve worked the past two years leaving me unemployed and looking for my next steps (hint: I have no clue what I’m doing), I finally moved back to the Chicago area after being between Michigan, Indiana, California, and New York the past 6 years (and yes, I’m crashing with the rents), and because I’ve been a whirlwind traveler, I’ve lost touch with many of my local friends and life seems to have gone on without me.

And yet, amidst all of this craziness, I (for a moment), found myself getting annoyed that I am NOT that girl that gets parties thrown for her, as if my birthday is irrelevant if I don’t have an instagram pic “candidly” posing in front of shiny balloons reading “twenty-five” in a slammin’ dress captioned something like “Just trying to forget my quarter-life crisis”. But I quickly remembered that I was being absolutely ridiculous because I don’t need a boozy night to go celebrate my life.

Maybe it’s because 25 is bringing about a new adult-esque mindset (insert any applicable adulting meme), or maybe it’s because sometimes (not all the time) I’m too chill for my own good, but I’m pretty excited to celebrate my birthday by living out a pretty average day with just a few tweaks– LOTS of treats and intentionally being grateful.

I’m #blessed and have been for all 25 years of my life. Although I can already tell that year 25 is going to be crazy and life changing, I’m excited. It’s gonna be big, it’s gonna be wild, and hopefully in all the best ways. Why celebrate just one night when 25 reaaaally deserves the whole damn year?

So to celebrate my 25th, I’m going to be celebrating every day, be grateful every day, thrive every day.

Cue, “The 25 Series“. 

Throughout the year, The 25 Series” will consists of list posts of, you guessed it, “25” of whatever I feel like talking about that day. I’m going to use it as a way to document the year, but I hope you find as much enjoyment out of it as I do.

And I already have one queued up for the big day 🙂

So, cheers (almost) to my birthday, and all of my birthday buddies who were born on the best day of the year.


thrive & be bold.