guilt, shame, and the bulls*t of society

hello again and sorry for the absence (although I must say this apology is only a formality because I was waiting for something to move me).

with the intention of being semi-concise I want to jump right to the topic of today: burnout with the overarching theme of shame and guilt.

not sure about y’all but lately I’ve been feeling burnt-out. like half-alive, sub-inspired, and distant. I don’t feel as on fire as I did, I don’t find inspiration in the things I thought inspired me, and I don’t feel as close to reaching some level of enlightenment as I had previously. That feeling of stagnancy has killed every vibe I’ve felt. My self-love, self-care, my yoga practice, and most of all my motivation to spend my spring break doing anything other than refreshing the “recently added” section on Netflix. To be honest I’ve even noticed a reflection of this in my diet; I’ve returned to foods I used to use as comfort {like chips, sodas, and processed sugars, which I normally don’t eat a lot of}. The culmination of all these things snowballing hit me like a brick wall and it really woke me up. Therefore, even though I’m highly annoyed about what I was feeling, I’m thankful that I was able to tune into my body and understand something new.

Before I get all preachy and annoying just listen. The burnout feeling wasn’t necessarily what got me, but the GUILT and the SHAME that came with feeling burnt-out is what crucified me. The feeling of fraudulence I felt while trying to preach about happiness, positivity, self-love, and eating healthy {while the only thing I did after I left the gym was lay in my bed and savor the idiosyncrasy of cinematography of the late 90s} was awful. The best part of the whole thing was that the longer I laid there, the more I resented myself for not making a change, which then led me to continue lying there because I felt disgusted with myself. This absolutely sounds dramatic but I’m headed towards something so just hold on so just hold on.

when I began to think about it and really analyze my feelings it hit me that the only reason I sank so deep into this slump was because I was ashamed of my emotions. I was ashamed of feeling uninspired, not loving myself how I should, and not strictly practicing what I preach. But how can I learn about myself without making these mistakes ? Without hitting these walls ? I can’t.

As someone who has struggled with depression and anxiety since I was twelve the feeling isn’t unfamiliar but I thought I had it under control in a sense. I thought I’d mastered how to keep my mind from spiraling downward and could stop myself before I even started. Losing this control, or really being awoken to the fact I never truly possessed it, scared me. Then I realized this complex unpredictability is the treasure of mankind.

Our emotion is the purest, realest thing anyone can possess and project; so primitive, incomprehensibly complex, so unique to each person, beyond the full grasp of corruption. You can fake how you project your emotions, but you can never fake your internal experience and response to those emotions. You can’t fake your way out of experiencing heartbreak, you  can’t fake your way out of feeling betrayed, you can’t fake your way out of loathing something. But our society is built on shaming us for these molecular reactions that lie beyond our control.

Anxiety ? Pop a pill.

Depression ? Pop a pill.

oh, its severe ? pop two.

bipolar disorder ? pop a pill and keep your voice down.

{it’s remotely amusing that doctors think they can fix all of these emotions with a man made pill**. man is the most complex piece of technology to date, beyond our comprehension. we can only do so much before we cause more damage than good. }

It’s sick really. It’s shameful to be “weak”, weak being synonymous with showing vulnerability or expressing your imperfections to another human being. ‘Just sweep it under the rug’… and keep sweeping… and keep sweeping… and keep sweeping until there’s so much dirt that you can’t find the rug. It really makes me cringe that as a society we’ve accepted such a notion. How much easier is it to put on a mask and drown your sorrows in your pain killer of choice than it is to dive head first into your worst fears? How much easier is it to sweep your shit under the rug than it is to pick up every piece, sift through it, and create a mosaic of unparalleled beauty from the broken shards. The vulnerability, the honesty, the utter terror beckoned by such a thought… that’s strength. That’s the strength that births world changers and awakens your highest being. It’s hard and it’s scary but it’s how we heal. We’ve created a culture that praises mastering the art of masquerading around in our costume of choice, bearing open wounds, and numbing them with an array of pain killers.

I’m a woman saying this but I know men have it a million times harder. How many guys could walk up to their dad and receive the same kind of comfort a girl might receive from her mom? As a millennial, how many people do we trust with the shame of our secrets and the pain of our tears ? The pressures of being human continues to rise but the support system there to catch us when we crumble continues to fall. What kind of generation are we creating ? Deceit precipitates distrust, distrust beckons deceit. Numbness precipitates indifference, indifference beckons numbness.

We are in desperate need of a generation that embraces one another. One that ponders all of our emotions together and bears the weight of that pain as one. It fascinates me that we’ve made so much progress yet we haven’t progressed in addressing resentment for some of the most primitive, destructive human emotions. Rather than address we’ve made progress in continuing to repress. This is our hamartia, our fatal flaw.

Talk more, love more, think more, share more; we are in desperate need of humans who want to be more for one another. We’ve devolved into humans who half-ass live our way through lives with the the primary goal of earning large sums of money, working jobs that make us miserable, doing life with people that we half-love, while lacking concern for the heartbreak we cause as a result of our pain – as long as we aren’t the ones getting hurt.

I’m not perfect, I’ll never claim to be, but I’m a work in progress. That’s all the world really needs to begin making a change – a lot of people making a little progress. My goal here {incase you missed it} was to say that feeling shame, guilt, unimportance, confusion, whatever is okay. Dude it’s human, its in our DNA, it’s in our culture, it’s going to happen. What isn’t okay is succumbing to these emotions so much that we lose ourselves in that. There’s no Rosetta Stone for deciphering the meaning of everything. But the best part of knowing that is also knowing you don’t need one. The meaning of it all is tattooed into the essence of your very being, printed into every molecular component of your composition, and etched into the deepest corners of your soul.

Trust yourself, love yourself, and look to God {if you believe in Him, if you don’t then I’m afraid I don’t really know what else to tell you — but I can tell you he’s never let me down}. The bad things didn’t happen to knock you down, they happened to make you strong — deepen your roots, make you immovable. Everyday you’re growing. And just like our childhood, we’ll experience growing pains. I think that’s apart of the beauty of humanity. We’re like plants. But plants that have the luxury of turning out however we want. You may think we’re one seed, and you may plant us one place, but the apple can indeed can fall very far from the tree — whether that be good or bad is up solely to you.

And once again i have not been semi-concise but I said what I had to say so I hope I helped somebody.

**disclaimer: i appreciate the work doctors do. I respect their advancements and treasure their discoveries because I wouldn’t be here without them. But the use of prescription medication as a crutch or a bandaid is wrong. The fact that a lot of the medicines used today do more harm than good in the long run {to people and the environment} is wrong. And the fact that the pharmaceutical industry is one of the most profitable industries in the world is wrong.

leave things better than you found them.

not just another new year’s resolution

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{a lot can change in a year but clearly my love for red plaid didn’t.}

Well Happy New Year and welcome to 2018! What did I do to celebrate the arrival of such a momentous occasion? Not going to confirm or deny if I slept through the whole thing completely (oops).

Every year we do the same thing: make a bunch of goals that sounds pretty about how we’re going to better ourselves and the word around us and blah blah blahhhh. But how many of those goals do we remember and nonetheless actually accomplish during the year? Why do we make such a big deal about New Year Resolutions when we forget what they were by the time mid-February hits ?

This year lets change that. Let’s hold each other accountable. Let’s make each other better. Let’s look back in 2019 on how much we grew, how much we accomplished, and how much we LOVED in 2018. This is our year.

A few tricks to jumpstart our New Years Resolutions:

  1. Write down your goals. Long term or short term, write out your goals and (if you can) create a flexible timeline of when you will accomplish them. Studies show that people who set goals for themselves are happier, even if they don’t fully achieve them, they are constantly working towards something.
  2. Push yourself. Setting goals that are easily attainable might make you feel good because you can accomplish them quickly but how does that improve personal growth? Make goals that force you to push yourself, force you to question your personal truth, and finally force you to be a better version of yourself. If you can, have an accountability babe (cheesy yes,  but also extremely effective) to keep you on track.
  3. Speak it into existence. Your words are powerful. The energy you send out into the universe will come back, so make sure that energy is positive. Speak what you want into existence, think it into existence, make your reality one where you can and have achieved your goals. Write down what you plan to achieve. Make your path to success apart of your conscious and subconscious. My aunt was the first black woman to win the title of Miss Alabama. You know what she did every single day leading up to that pageant? She wrote, “I will win Miss Alabama,” down on paper; she won the title and it was her first pageant. Words and thoughts are powerful, believe me.
  4. Have fun. The road to success can be difficult but it will all be worth it. Don’t give up. Enjoy the process. Live in the moment because they pass too fast. Find love in everything. Enjoy your roll as a student of life. Sometimes mistakes suck but thats how we learn. Laugh off the little stuff. Live the “let go” life.

If I’m being honest, personally, 2017 was a big ball of crazy. But it was the crazy that I needed. I had and still have a lot of growing to do. My pastor was talking about how sometimes you have nothing more to go off of than the benefit of the doubt; defined as a favorable judgment in the absence of full evidence. In this case, the favorable judgement being the confidence that all of this (good AND bad) is happening for your betterment even though there is no substantial evidence illustrating how so much bad will precipitate something good. Let’s have faith this year; give it the benefit of the doubt. Oh, and most importantly – love more this year.


before i die…

Hello again, groovy peoples. I hope everyone is starting their week off really strong and that you enjoyed yourself during the game! Win or lose it’s always a great time gathering with your people and catching up. I’m super stoked about today’s post so I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

If you can’t tell by this point, I try to write about things that move me, things that inspire me, things that ask me to reevaluate how I interpret my current reality. This week I was incredibly moved and incredibly inspired by a really short, groovy Ted Talk from a brilliant woman named Candy Chang. If you’ve ever seen one of these:


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Then you can thank Ms. Chang for. Little did I know we actually have one in Charlotte. The largest photo is the original wall; built near Chang’s home in New Orleans, she turned an abandoned building into a permanent art installation. Incase you weren’t aware, I was not, New Orleans has one of the highest abandonded property rates in America. I’ve seen these walls in tons of pictures on instagram and I never really thought about where they came from but the heart of the story is what makes it so magical.

During her TED Talk, which I highly recommend you watch, she goes onto explain this creation was birthed from the passing of someone she dearly loved. Losing someone so close to her, she says, brought a lot of clarity to her but this was hard to maintain. {Can’t we all relate? How hard is it to choose kindness when we are bombarded with unkindness? To choose love when hate is so much easier?} She continues on, describing how the “Before I die, I want to…” wall was built with the help of neighbors and the simplistic beauty of allowing any passerby to reflect on their personal aspirations and share them with the world. Some responses were goofy, some heart-warming, and some heart breaking – but all a brief peek into someone’s world. She turned this “neglected space into a constructive one”; this being a reflection of what just a drop of imagination, inspiration, and dedication can do to change the world. There are now installments across the globe, including countries like khazikstan, south africa, austarlia and argentina.

She says, “It’s about knowing you’re not alone. It’s about understanding our neighbors in new and elightening ways. Its about making space for reflection and comtemplation and remembering what really matters most to us when we grow and change.” The increasingly fast pace of society has a tendency to make us forget what matters to us. Chang goes on, ” … we have been shown how powerful our public spaces can be if we are given the oppurtunity to have a voice and share more with one another.” There’s such power in bringing back some sense of relationship with a stranger. We are losing these interpersonal relationships. We are losing our shared humanity, what I believe has made us so spectacular. What will be left when that is lost?

Continuing to be full of thought provoking words, she says, “Two of the most valuable things we have are time and our relationships with other people.” But how often does our management of time reflect how we value those relationships? 

“Life is brief and tender,” said Chang so eloquently. We are only human. Mortal, fragile, simply a blip in the history of humanity and the history of our mother Earth. But what we leave behind, that can be immortalized. What do you plan to leave behind ? What energy are you putting out into the Earth? Does that reflect who you are, who you aspire to be, or who you want to be remembered as?

“Preparing for death is one of the most empowering things you can do, thinking about death clarifies your life.” -Candy Chang,

I think this idea moved me profoundly because it aligned so perfectly with something that has been on my mind lately. Am I doing what I’m doing because I love it or because someone told me I’m supposed to do it in order to reach some predefined idea of success or happiness? I came to college as with hopes of being a biology major, then actually entered as a business major, and I am now an interior design student. How did my road lead me here? Because it was the road I’d been on my entire life, but fear caused me to diverge from what I truly wanted… but maybe that was apart of His plan. I don’t know but I know I’m exactly where I need to be. I’ve loved art, I’ve loved creating my entire life. But people kept telling me I wouldn’t make money doing it or be successful. First of all, who defined success? Success is relative to YOUR dreams and personal apsirations. Nothing else. So Screw it, IT’S MY LIFE. I DO LIFE ONCE. YOU DO LIFE ONCE. WE DO LIFE ONE FREAKING TIME. This isn’t the rehearsal. This isn’t the dry run. This is it. When I die do I want to be remebred as Haley, the orthodontist (a lovely, respectable career, which has improved my jaw line greatly) or do I aspire to be remembered as Haley, a creative, an innovator, composing the set for the play we live out daily? I guess the real glamour in the second option is my flowery diction but I personally prefer the latter. Why? Because it makes me happy. It’s how I want to leave my legacy. How I can tell people I was here and this is what was important to me. That I was here and that I mattered. So What’s important to you?

Have you found what moves you?

Before I die….

I want to… Change the world.

I want to… help people in every way I can.

I want to… make people realize they aren’t alone.

I want to…  live freely and love endlessly.

What do you want to do before you die ?

be kind to yourself,


self care, simple but not really

Hey guys! Sorry for the absence, I’ve been busy with school and taking some time for myself so I haven’t been posting as much. What I really wanted to post about today is self-care and some tips for improving or changing your routine.



I am such a proponent of the idea that self-care is a partial reflection of self-love and I’ve been digging deeply into this idea lately. I feel so strongly about it because I’ve watched a transformation take place within myself from practicing self-love. There was a time when I loathed who I was, how I looked, and how I felt. This lack of self-love was reflected in my self-care and especially spiritually and emotionally. Now yes, I know everyone lives differently and expresses love differently but I just want to plant a seed in you that can grow into something beautiful. Everyone deserves for their first love the be themselves.

When I say self-care, I don’t mean just physical improvements I mean internal and external nourishment. Physical, spiritual, and emotional balance. How can you take of yourself if you don’t nurture every aspect of YOU ?

Self love is more than loving how you look. Your appearance can be everything you’ve always wanted it to be but you can still feel as hollow as an eggshell. Self-love is knowing and ACCEPTING who you are for the better. God made you to be exactly who you are meant to be. He made you in His beautiful image, we are His art. Although the human eye can only process our superficialities we are so much more. So much more substance, so much more energy, so much more life. We are all unique like pieces of living artwork. We deserve to live and to love beautifully.

It’s a journey. it’s not easy but it’s important so here’s some things I’ve learned in caring for your mind, body, and soul.

PUT YOU FIRST (cliché I’m aware). Putting you first doesn’t mean being selfish it means finding the strength to allow yourself to do what’s best for you. Putting yourself first can also take a lot of courage; cutting out certain people, changing certain habits, or changing certain habitats. This step is so crucial I personally don’t think you can improve self-love without it. Stop doing things that hurt you purely to please certain people because they aren’t the ones suffocating from anxiety or diving deeper into your depression. STOP. Do things because you want to do things, because you’re passionate about them, because it’s going to benefit the bigger picture. Self love is one of the most selfless things you can do. By putting yourself first you’re also putting your loved ones first because you’re on the path to becoming the best possible version of yourself.


TAKE IT EASY. This sounds kinda hippy but like literally chill your frequency, change your energy, switch up your vibes. Like breathe. Get a grip. REEEEEL IT IN. Today everyone and everything moves at the speed of light. There’s a transience permeating throughout our culture and everything is gone in the blink of an eye. Just because the world moves crazy fast doesn’t mean you have to. I’m not saying sit on the couch all day or stop living, obviously that’s not feasible. What I’m trying to say is make time/take time for the things, people, and activites that are important to you. Slow YOUR life down. Mellow out the frequency you put into the world a little. You can be busy, and take things slow at the same time {I’ll make a time management post to elaborate on this later}. Create an adaptable routine for yourself that allows you to make time for what’s important! Especially being in college and working (or if you’re playing a sport) you already have the bare bones of your routine so you just need to rearrange the rest of your life a little to see major improvements! I love to take my self-care time in the mornings usually — doing things like prayers (and affirmations!), planning, and cleaning — to really allow myself to wake up and get focused in on my day. Slow your roll and calm your frequency because energy can’t be created nor destroyed, but it will always come back.

EXPLORE YOURSELF. There are more atoms in the human body than there are stars in the universe…. the universe. You’re literally composed of innumerable atoms vibrating at a unique frequency to create the being that is so individually spectacularly you. You’re literally an abyss of unknowns. But how well do you know yourself? When was the last time you tried something new? The last time you felt adrenaline make your heart beat out of your chest? The last time you cried your makeup off from laughing? Find what you love and chase it. Let it consume you. Be passionate about something. Explore new ideas, new people, new places, find something NEW as much as you possibly can. For me it’s vinyasa yoga. I’ve found alot of peace and beauty in such an amazing art. Find YOU in something, or maybe a little bit of everything.

CUT YOURSELF SOME SLACK. In case you forgot… we’re human. Error prone, mistake driven, failure fueled humans, nothing more. If you aren’t failing, then you’re doing something terribly wrong. It might’ve been Will Smith who said that or maybe someone else but this really hit me. SUCCESS IS DRIVEN BY FAILURE. It took Thomas Edison 1,000 attempts before inventing the lightbulb but when someone asked him how failing those 1,000 times felt he simply replied, “[it] was just an invention with 1,000 steps.” Due to the societal/ educational structure thrust upon us, the nature of failing seems deplorable. If you know me, you know I hate being wrong (or used to). Being wrong was like the equivalent of getting a gigantic, public F stamped on my forehead. But how logical is that, really ? Okay so you didn’t know before, now you do… wow armageddon has arrived. Laugh it off and try again next time. Being able to laugh at yourself sounds so trivial but really it’s so rewarding. Especially if you struggle with anxiety or depression you know what I’m talking about! The feeling of laughing at yourself and letting go is a wonderful peace to achieve. You do life once, that’s all you’ve got. So take your failures like trophies but use them like roadmaps to your success.

If you aren’t constantly FAILING you’re doing something incredibly wrong.


So that’s just my little piece for today. Self-love is a journey that never really ends. There are tears, there are smiles, there are laughs and there are headaches but the feeling of embracing your true self is something no person or thing on this earth can obtain for you. It’s also one of the few things on this Earth that no one can take from you either, so find it and cherish every moment of it.

Just a reminder to choose love, practice kindess (especially to yourslef), and be kind to brother nature while you’re at it.

have a groovy week,


smoothies a lá affordable

I’m all for $5 Friday at Smoothie King but it’s never a bad time to save a few bucks, am I right?

I’ve been binging on smoothies lately but not from juice bar or smoothie king, I’ve been making them all at home and they’re so delicious. They start with the same basic recipe but I’ve created a few different variations, as well as having made a few improvements to the original product.

The Base

The base for my smoothies are the Jamba Juice at home kits! They’re usually $3 but they’ve been on sale at a couple of different supermarkets lately. I love these especially because for $3 you get a 16 oz. smoothie that has a full serving of fruit, numerious veggie nutrients, and it’s gluten free (plus I don’t have to leave the comfort of my nicely heated home in such frigid weather)!

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Continue reading “smoothies a lá affordable”

AKT right sandwich

So excited to share some of my vegan recipes and for this to be my first one! When I’m home I do A LOT of cooking/baking. I can only imagine how annoying this must be for my mother who is a healthy eater with a strong sweet tooth, so I’m gonna take a different direction for today’s recipe. My first recipe, designed to make you snap out of your hangry trance ASAP, is the AKT right sandwich (yes I’m corny and I like puns).


I’ve been craving sandwiches lately – probably because I can’t live without copious amounts of a good sourdough in my diet (yes, SINNERS WILL SIN. no ragrets**.). But it’s been hard finding something that leaves my palette satisfied AND complies with the constraints of a plant-based diet. I think this recipes does a good job of pleasing the senses and the stomach.


The base of the sandwich is a hearty “artisan” sourdough, this one in particular came from Whole Foods, basically any dough with a little bite to it. I like a warm sandwich so I toast the bread then spread a thin layer of vegan butter on each piece.


Of course I’m avocaddict so I made an avocado spread to put on the bread. I threw some lime in the spread to add a little zest. I pan sear the kale in a little olive oil, it wilts down and is a little softer but still has a nice thick texture which I love. This is where two variations of sandwich can be made!


The AKT (avocado, kale, tomato version) is a little more fun. After making the avocado spread for BOTH sides, a heavy coating on each, I add a couple tomato slices to the sandwich. I then add roasted red pepper flakes… a lot, like I love spicy food. My mother has choked once (or twice). Add some chopped cilantro leaves and some salt and pepper to finish this snack.

The GO akt (greens, orange, avocado, kale, tomato version) is more fun to look at. After making the avocado spread, leaving out the lime, for one side of the bread I make a butternut squash mash to coat the other side. The coarse texture of the butternut squash makes for a good addition on the other piece of bread. I pan sear the butternut squash (this is the orange part), letting it simmer with water for a little to soften up the squash. I also pan sear the kale with garlic for this sandwich. I add a slice of tomato, a couple roasted red pepper flakes, salt and pepper, and enjoy! Make sure to enjoy while hot to have the best exerience with the squash mash!

Don’t forget to pile a ton of the seared kale leaves on the bread and you can add as much or as little garlic as you like!

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If anyone needs exact measurements or more in depth details I’ll be happy to make another post – just leave a comment!

**yes i can spell so if you didn’t catch my “no ragrets” joke you’re uncultured, lol jk.



Lululemon AFTER Christmas Sale

So I thought I would end 2017 and begin my new blog by covering the topic of the Lululemon after christmas sale. Is it the best or is it a bust ?


The lululemon after Christmas sale (in celebration of Boxing Day, a Canadian Holiday) has become a women’s Christmas tradition for my family. Being that I am a charlotte resident, we hit both the Southpark Mall and Birkdale Village locations. Conclusions are as follows:

Winner:  Birkdale Village 

The Birkdale Village location is leading in the best overall selection — leggings and jackets being the largest sections — as well having the best store setup and shortest lines. **This location also opens at 9AM.

The Southpark Mall location is leading in the best “great” finds, best staff, and best aesthetic in their newly renovated store. **This location features a comfortable waiting area with electrical outlets for the nonshoppers.

Birkdale is most certainly the favorite and will get you the most goods for your post-holiday money, not to mention they open at 9AM.

Here are two of my favorite purchases:

This all black, lightweight jacket is perfect for any on the go outing. An easy throw over any atheltic ensemble and very stylish.  SAVINGS: $49


My new fave tote: Free To Be bag. This navy, everything friendly, carry-all was a steal. There is an endless supply off storage. It is perfect for the gym or just walking through the city. I haven’t put it down since I bought it. SAVINGS: $39


Other good finds included the Lead the Pack Crop, Define Jacket and the Raise the Bar Bra. Both super comfrotable and very stylish. The leggings also make your butt look amazing so… BUY. TOTAL SAVINGS: $81


Although I have found the sales are not as spectacualr as they used to be, I’ve concluded that it’s still very much worth the trip. That’s all that’s new for now.


Cali Day 2: PCH

Thursday, day 2, was another spectacular day with LOTS of shopping. We started out the day pretty strong with some Ramen. Not the broke college kid ramen but like REAL ramen.

IMG_7967Ramen Yamada in Culver City is serving this awesome, REAL, ramen with hand-stretched noodles! I got the Tonkotsu Spicy. They spice it with fresh chili paste so the entire bowl turns bright red. They’re actually so proud of what they do that they actually post it only wall… look.

IMG_37870CD29CA0-1I subbed chicken for pork as my meat, just because I’m not a huge fan. It was still so amazing. Chop sticks are the standard utensil and fresh garlic is the standard seasoning. The garlic makes it like 20x better so if you stop by don’t turn it down. It’s so  authentic and fresh ingredients only intensify the authenticity – 10/10 would HIGHLY recommend to a anyone I know.

A244A4EA-970D-4915-A370-B34B4E955209This post is gonna have EXTRA pictures because this was probably the most beautiful side of planet Earth I’ve seen in my brief 19 years. We got Rita’s as a dessert then hit the road, or should I say the PCH. My uncle had the rockin idea to visit Malibu ((because like who says no to that ??)) so we hopped on the PCH {Pacific Coast Highway} and made our way there.

IMG_6421One thing I must say is that evolution has disadvantaged the view of North Carolinians. Driving along the roads of California, whether it be the highway or the PCH, there is so much COLOR. It’s everywhere, it’s almost contagious, semi-inspiring even. I mean oranges and purples EVERYWHERE, flourishing in the dry desert soil, complimented by the flood of color the ocean brings to this celestial canvas. It’s nature’s masterpiece ((no filter)).

IMG_6175Before you think I am just being melodramatic: Yes, i am fully aware the tropics exist; No, I will not stop talking about it because it’s amazing to ME. Literally I felt like I was in nirvana.

IMG_6418On my left all can I see is an ocean that goes on for hundreds of thousands of miles and an army of yachts elegantly floating in the marina. On my right are palm trees atop rocky hills with little flowered splashes of color. Straight ahead, some miles up the road, are hills filled with houses from Architect’s Digest and it feels like heaven. Like knowing exactly where you want to be everyday for the rest of your life. The sun, the warm dry wind, the top down on the Jeep. I could live in that moment every day.

So as I carry on gawking due to sensory overload we continue making our way down the PCH. We made a brief excursions into a neighborhood but only for the view ((I mean have you seen the view)). Then, once we’d finally found our spot, we just sat. Simply pondered how glorious it must be to wake up everyday and drink your morning coffee looking at that.

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This was probably one of my favorite memories from the entire trip. Just the aesthetic, the vibe… it was all perfect. As you can see below I couldn’t help but add just a small clip of our view. The architecture was INSANE. Modern, minimal, victorian, New England,  you name it, we saw it ALL. And all of it worked. Every style, color, theme. It worked. It was stylish and sometimes edgy but it never looked out of place. It was like everything was in its proper home.


In other less surprising news the traffic was awful by the time we got to Santa Monica so we went to the nearest exit: the 3rd street Promenade. If California has taught me anything – these people love Promenades. Like legit we went to two or three but I personally saw eight to ten. It was insane ((but most certainly not a negative because your girl loves to shop))!!

This Promenade was not just any promenade. This was like casual Heaven. Expect the normal mall stores ((Abercrombie, Lulu, Lucky, etc)) but on a different scale. The stores were either HUGE one story shops or huge 3 story shops. The latter was the case for Abercrombie, Forever 21, and ZARA. Speaking of Zara – being that I was recently introduced – I love it. A couple steps up from Forever 21, better in-store aesthetics, but accompanied by the convenient pricing of everyday fast fashion ((a college kid’s dream)). I must personally say it is not as popular in Charlotte as I feel it was on the west coast but that small facet of information could come in pretty handy.

1E53835D-621B-496F-A0A2-9C5EA71975C0Unfortunately my phone died so I didn’t get to take pics of the promenade but you can’t really blame me because I was shopping! It was just your everyday outdoor mall, casual view of the ocean, no biggie. We hit Levi’s ((because denim rules)) and they had a surprisingly larger selection  than i had ever seen in store so I was highly inspired ((the Levi 501’s will be making a return to my closet this fall and winter)).

44009a03-7508-497e-a163-1a7d99a6210e2.jpegOur last adventure of the day was our trip to see the Batman sign. Unfortunately the late Adam West, the original Batman, passed away during our visit so they hosted a ceremony to remember him at Town Hall. We arrived a couple of hours after the ceremony began but the traffic was so awful we couldn’t even park and get out. We literally had to take pictures of the bat symbol from the comfort of our vehicle, which wasn’t as inconvenient as it sounds. It was amazing to see all of the people who came out to share their support. It was also pretty interesting to see people who probably shouldn’t be dressing in black pleather during their midlife crisis dress in black pleather, so it was an all around show.


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This look was definitely one of my favorites! I loved coming up with it and wearing it all day – especially since it was sort of an accident! My GB Gianni Bini top was from Dillard’s – love the CLT SouthPark Mall Dillard’s because I can always count on them to have great deals. I also must comment on how amazing the GB brand is. The fit, quality, reasonable pricing – I am a LOYAL customer and you will be seeing some more of them. My shorts were American Eagle but I actually got them for practically nothing at Marshall’s and they have become one of my fav pairs of shorts. SUPER great for summer country concerts ((the blue with some boots and a white top?? YES)).

IMG_936F794F4D45-1.jpegSunnies are one of my fav accents in an outfit so I paired mine with some oversized, yellow tinted aviators from Forever 21 for a little spice. The gold rims flowed into
the gold accessories. I layered 2 chokers – both dainty – with a longer, dainty body chain for an exaggerated look. I then added some very dainty, gold earrings and vwahlaaaaa – an outfit ((unfortunately you can’t really get a great view of my jewelry in this pic)). I again slipped on my casual Tory Sandals, my go-to’s.

b05bc0d9-11d3-4d9c-8c48-63ba9264bef22-e1498691437684.jpegI felt the look overall was very retro and I loved everything about it. The yellow lens probably iced the cake for me. They are a statement but they’re very bright and casual which makes them easy to wear whether it’s day or night.

au revoir xx hayhen

LA Day 1: Venice


The ONLY thing keeping me alive during this vacay was a central line of processed sugar and good vibes ((the second being more effective than the first)).


But the photos I got were gorgeous and I kinda found my own little piece of nirvana in California, I literally fell in love with LA.

Manhattan Beach

FFE0E7EE-4D73-452E-8B74-4F72454361FDBeing that our stay was limited to 6 days while the list of sights to see was endless we hit the ground running. Our lovely hosts (( my sweet aunt and uncle)) made reservations at Strandhouse for lunch. Honestly I don’t know what was better – the food or the view.

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 The restaurant overlooks  Manhattan Beach and the Pier, not to mention it’s entirely ocean view; the three story, modernized minimalist styled facility is entirely glass on the front so no matter where you are the view is AMAZING. only grabbed a snapshot of the view we had while we ate but it’s so gorgeous!


I threw away the whole vegetarian thing for the trip and had the Lamb Dip sandwich with abnormally insanely wonderful fries ((which means a lot coming from me because I have a PhD in fry economics)).


Then my aunt ordered this rockin’ appetizer ((who’s name i do not recall)) made from is raw Japanese yellowtail atop an avocado slice with this spectacular orange colored sauce drizzled on top. Let me tell you, it puts any sushi I’ve ever had to shame. The texture, the contrast of flavors, the presentation… wow.

IMG_6144The Manhattan Beach Pier was right outside so we hit that after lunch. It was beyond gorgeous. Like 1999, Beverly Hills, 90210 gorgeous.. okay maybe that’s a little much but it’s still perfect. To natives it’s probably nothing but for an east coast girl who LOVES the beach, it’s huge: the water.

A5E02BF8-F42C-4165-8112-6A8B9695FF8A 2It’s not the dirty myrtle icky can’t see my feet shade of brown but more of like a deep aqua; it’s nothing as exotic as the tropics, but it’s spectacular in its own right. It’s sort of like my soul found heaven on Earth. I must say, the shopping is wonderful, with a wide variety of styles and prices you can literally find the coolest stuff anywhere you look!

Abbot Kinney Street / Venice



Next we hopped over to Abbot Kinney Street in Venice to do a little shopping and grab some ice-cream.

IMG_0811Some people have oxygen, others have ice cream ((I am that other)). We went to Salt & Straw Ice Cream for some unconventional cream and it was pretty freakin awesome. This day in particular, their ever changing menu included, but was not limited to: Goat Cheese and Black Olive Brittle, Honey  Lavender, Salted Malted Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Vegan Silencio Black Tea & Coconut Straticiella, and Roasted Strawberry & Toasted White Chocolate Ice Cream. Judging by the bite this innocent lady was taking in the picture to the right, the ice cream isn’t half bad lol.

img_6161.pngThey of coursed had some flavors on the simpler side like Triple Fold Vanilla or Sea Salt with Caramel Ribbons but what fun would that be? I tried the Avocado and Strawberry Sherbet ((since I couldn’t commit to the Goat Cheese flavor for a whole cone)) and it was way groovy, not to mention the colors were pretty fun!


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If you love stylish athletic wear you’ll love this – Lorna Jane . It’s an active living brand, totally comparable to Lulu Lemon, created some 27 years ago by a yoga teacher ((Lorna Jane)). It has grown to become the number one brand of its kind in Australia, as well as becoming a west coast favorite . The pieces are so adorable and so unique, there is a noticeable differentiation between their brand and the Lulu brand ((which I personally love – since everyone is always attempting to mimic their style)). I snagged a couple of pieces so and I’m so ready to test them out!


Another darling boutique we visited was Hyden Yoo. I absolutely loved the uniqueness of the shop – it was just different. From knick knacks to men’s wear they had everything well displayed in such a tiny, adorable little space. I snagged a pair of Chinese Laundry sneakers from their awesome shoe collection and I’m currently planning to wear them until they’re considered vintage… so yeah ((btw that was before I even discovered how insanely comfortable they are)). The Chinese Laundry brand has adorable items within a very reasonable price range so that is another thing I love about them! Hyden You also gives you a cute little tote with any purchase,  saving the environment and staying chic all at once – perf, God bless the Queen.

In n’ Out Burger

AB49130F-3C38-4E78-9E7F-9A04B5EF18F6It’s a west coast classic and taunts every east coast burger lover… You guessed it – In n’ Out Burger. The famous burger that’s apparently like the holy grail of burgers. Way insane, so good, amazing,for sure dug it. The special sauce is so solid, personally haven’t ever had a Big Mac but if that special sauce is anything similar McD’s may be seeing me soon.

IMG_6162One kind of weird fact: they don’t have pickles… at all ((I love pickles so there was some minor disappointment but the fries were consolation)). It was also kinda awesome that they have bible verses on the bottom of all of their containers. The cups have John 3:16 and the fries have Proverbs 24:16 ((awesome right?)).

Randy’s Donuts

xfs_1024x680_s100_randys_donuts-1aThe last of our stops on Day 1 was another icon. It’s been in a thousand movies and you probably thought it wasn’t real either, BUT IT IS: Randy’s Doughnuts. Every true Southerner knows Krispy Kreme is the best donut… like ever. It would be blasphemous to admit ((aloud)) anything trumps the Kreme, but it does. Randy’s is WAY better than Krispy Kreme, even my grandparents, born and raised Southerners, were shocked.

IMG_6461Randy’s is just better, just is – no denying it. No hot light needed, it’s insane. Like donut induced coma good. They’re chewy and sweet and perfect and really big and yea I could go for another one ((or five)) right now. Current ragrets include not getting a couple dozen for my flight.


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My outfit was nothing special, just something comfortable and versatile since we were doing a little moving and shaking. A simple blush colored tank (Abercrombie & Fitch), one of my fav Pantone SS17 Colors, to compliment my navy tie dye tassel shorts (Marshall’s) and my fav slip on Tory Burch sandals. I added a sweater (Hollister) incase it got chilly on the flight but ended up wearing it off of the shoulder most of the trip since the weather was so wonderful. I also brought along my most trusted cross body, my fav Tory (Monkee’s Boutique of Lake Norman) that doubles as a clutch with a built in wallet. I literally take it everywhere I go and it came in so handy this vacay.

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Although I kind of only really included the food we ate in this post the shopping was amazing. Abbot Kinney Street had almost everything you could imagine ((the original TOMS shop is actually on that street as well)). From country western to minimalist chic you can find anything!! The weather was rockin’ our entire trip, no June Gloom! The good Lord truly has his hand on the west coast because when I tell you they don’t know anything about humidity they don’t know anything. I was sitting in the valley ((which I will get to later)) in the 90 degree California heat, on a cloudless sunny day, and I didn’t break a sweat… no sticky skin, nothing. God is so good.