Life

BUCKET LIST: Learning to Snowboard

learning how to snowboard
learning how to snowboard

At the end of 2016 I checked one more thing off my bucket list, and learned how to snowboard. Luckily for me, my sister-in-law had taken a class to be a snowboard instructor, and was up for the challenge (Thank you, Cindy!).

While she was home from college for her winter break, she took me to the bunny hill at a local ski resort. It started off slow and steady. After about an hour on the hill, a lunch break, and a beer we went back. That's when it all clicked. I could turn from side-to-side, and stop facing up or down the hill. Then, I got more confident and started going down the hill faster. This meant I also fell a lot harder. One time I fell so hard that I left two butt prints in the snow. It was totally worth it!

For about a week after, the muscles I used to stand up were soooo sore. I did not fully comprehend how difficult it would be to stand up with both feet stuck two feet apart on a board while trying not to fall or start sliding down the hill. I definitely worked out some muscles I didn't know I had.

Now that I'm not sore anymore, and I'm excited to go back. Watch out! Next time I hit the slopes, it'll be time for the chair lift :)

[video width="224" height="400" mp4="https://thehayleyfiser.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Snowboarding.mp4"][/video]

Video Credit: Cindy Fiser

My Favorite Things in 2016

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Schwan's cookies with a glass of milk Happy New Year!!! We're a couple of weeks into the new year, and I wanted to share some of the things I really enjoyed in 2016.

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you make a purchase after clicking on one of the product links, I’ll receive compensation. Let's be honest, mama needs a new pair of shoes :)

Healthy Food

This year we really got into making smoothies. I started making one that tastes like my favorite from Tropical Smoothie, the Kiwi Quencher. I make it with strawberries, kiwis, a banana, plain yogurt, and almond milk. I'll be doing a blog post with our favorite smoothie recipes soon, and will link it here when it's done.

Junk Food

Since my husband began working for Schwan's, I started eating waaayyy more desserts. Above anything else, in my opinion, is definitely their frozen chocolate chip cookie dough. They are so delicious, and I can have a couple (or four or five) fresh-baked cookies and milk when I get home from work with very little effort on my part. Actually, I'm going to make some right now before I finish writing this post :)

Clothing

This year we moved to the northern Lower Peninsula in Michigan where the winters are very cold. Since the move, I've had to acquire more and more clothes for this chilly weather. For Christmas my husband got me a super warm, fuzzy, and long robe. When I'm at home, I live in it. It's amazing! I love that it's basically like wearing a blanket. You can buy it on Amazon here

Makeup

This year I didn't experiment too much with makeup. BUT! I did start using an eye kohl on my waterlines when I was trying to cut time out of my morning makeup routine before work. I really like using an eye kohl, because it draws attention to my eyes and makes my lashes look longer without all the steps I had when using eyeshadow and liquid liner. I've been using the NYX Cosmetics Noir Kohl Kajal Black Liner

Shows

There are 2 shows that I wanted to include here: The Man in the High Castle, and Black Mirror.

At the beginning of the year my husband found The Man in the High Castle, and we binge watched the first season. In a very small nutshell, the show is about what the United States might have been like if the Allies lost World War II. The second season just came out, and we're going to try to watch it in the next couple days.

In December he found Black Mirror on Netflix, and we watch all three seasons before the end of the year. It's almost like a collection of visual, short stories, because each episode is different. Most of them focus on something that is happening in our society, and what it could be like in the not-so-distant future. It really makes you think about the things you might write off as being small issues, because they don't affect you too much right this moment.

Memory/Milestone

2016 was a huge year for us! We left Lansing and moved to Gaylord, and in the process sold one house and bought another. It was a huge undertaking, but it was totally worth it. We love it up here :)

REVIEW: Honest Company Essentials Bundle Free Trial

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Honest Company Essentials Bundle Free Trial A few months back I got my free trial of the Honest Company's Essentials Bundle. Some of them I used up within a week or two, and a few I still have sitting around my house. Keep reading to find out what was a hit, and what was a miss.

Honest Company Essentials Bundle All Items

 

honest lotion Face + Body Lotion loved this product! It was exactly what my face needed for a moisturizer, and it's fragrance free! This product is perfect for dry winter skin, anywhere on your body (face, hands, elbows, kness, feet, etc.). It's a very light, and non-greasy formula that really does the job. Honestly, if you're not sure if you want to give this free trial a go, I would recommend doing it just for this product. It's amazing!

 

 

_dsc0142-1Hand Soap I mean... it's hand soap. I like the lavender smell. It's nice, but not super overpowering. It got gook off my hands when I needed it to. It does what hand soap is should do. I do still have this half-empty container sitting in our main floor bathroom a few months after getting the trial, because it's basically the same as the hand soap we have in the dispenser. I do like the fact that it's advertised to not have any harsh chemicals... but in the end it's still a hand soap that costs $5 for 11.5 fluid ounces.

 

_dsc0143-1Shampoo + Body Wash To be honest, I was little upset when I realized this was 'orange' scented. If you know me, you know I hate oranges. The taste and the smell. Yuck! BUT I was pleasantly surprised, because their "Sweet Orange Vanilla" scent is actually like an orange creamscile, or orange push-pop. So to me that's a million times better than straight orange.

So, onto the product's performance. I thought it worked well as a shampoo and body wash. Nothing that was amazingly spectacular or mind blowing, but it worked. I did use my normal conditioner with this, and my hair styled the same as before. My skin wasn't overly dry, and it didn't leave a filmy feeling either. For me, this isn't something I would buy for everyday use, since the price tag is a little high. BUT! It's the perfect travel bag product, because it's one less bottle I would have to pack. For that reason, I'll probably buy one for me and one for the hubby.

 

_dsc0144-1Multi-Surface Cleaner I loved this product. In comparison to the Scrubbing Bubbles Heavy Duty All Purpose Cleaner, this stuff held its own. I had to use a little more elbow grease to get my oven cleaned after splattering spaghetti sauce on it, but it did the job. It also did a great  job on my wood surfaces when I dusted with it. All of these surfaces were left shiny and clean like they were brand new.

Also, I really loved the light, fresh white grapefruit scent, too. At first, I felt like my house didn't smell clean because it wasn't like the typical, over-powering lemon scent in most household cleaners. However, after using this for a week and going back to the Scrubbing Bubbles, I hated how strong that product was. This is one product I will definitely buy!

 

_dsc0145-1Organic Healing Balm Out of all the items in the box, this one is my least favorite. It did a really great job moisturizing and soothing my very dry, cracked cuticles. However, the smell of the product is a little too...uh... earthy for me. When I initially opened the container I thought it was very skunky. After using the product, it became more subdued but it's definitely not fruity or flowery. This smell definitely makes me think twice about reaching for this product, and I have been using their Face + Body Lotion over this one. At the end of the day, if I need to treat extremely dry skin, then I'll reach for my jar of coconut oil... it definitely smells better.

What are your favorite Honest Company products?

Want to try these products for yourself? Get a FREE trial of your favorite Honest bundle here!

 

 The Honest Company

Living with POTS: Getting Diagnosed

This post is about the 2 years it took to get my POTS diagnosis. I don't mean the pots you use to cook with either. POTS is an acronym that stands for Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome. This syndrome is a chronic, invisible illness characterized by an abnormal increase in heart rate when in an upright position verses laying down . For me, my heart rate is around 70 BPM laying down, but will go over 100 BPM (aka tachycardia) when standing. If that doesn't sound fun enough, there are other issues persons with POTS experience that can include insomnia, fatigue, nausea, dizziness, fainting, headaches shortness of breath, and heart palpitations. Today I thought to myself, "I'm so sick and tired of being sick and tired." When I had this thought, I was exhausted, nauseated, short of breath, dizzy, achy and lightheaded after over an hour sitting at my desk writing. That's right... I was sitting down, but felt like I was running a marathon. Everyday I have issues with lightheadedness and fatigue, but some times the symptoms pile up and can knock me down for days. When those days happen, they stick around for a week, but have lasted for months before. During those times, all I want to do is lay down and sleep. It can get so bad that I'll sleep for 2-3 days straight, only waking up when my husband brings be something to eat and drink. It took some time, but I'm not as scared anymore when this happens. However, the first time I felt like this, I was terrified.

My First Scare

It was my last semester of college, nearly 4 years ago. I was lightheaded, exhausted, and had insomnia. However, I had felt like that for years. I thought it was because I was a college kid, working 30 hours a week, commuting 45 minutes to school four days a week, and planning a wedding. Then, I started to feel my heart beating very strongly in my chest, but I had that off-and-on for years, too. I also felt like I was going to pass out, but that also happened to me before. The reason I got scared was when all of it started happening every hour or two, and I also felt short of breath and like there was an elephant on my chest. After a few days of it happening, I called my mom in a panic. She advised me to get to the urgent care ASAP.

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When I saw the doctor at urgent care, he was concerned I was having heart complications. They ran an EKG, which it came back normal. I don't remember if they ran any other tests at the office (if they did, they came back normal). So, some blood work was ordered to test my thyroid, iron levels, and much more. They drew so much blood that day... That was a long and miserable day. I honestly was afraid to go home, because I thought something terrible might happen that night. My lovely mother came to our apartment that night and cooked me my favorite dinner, chicken and dumplings.

What is Happening to Me?!

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One or two days later I saw my doctor, and all the blood work looked normal. However, I was still having my symptoms. So, she ordered a 24-hour holter monitor, and I was advised to cut down on caffeine and stop driving until they ruled some more stuff out. Thankfully my husband (fiance at the time) and my mom could drive me to work and school for the next two weeks.

The following day, Jason drove me to the hospital and the holter monitor was hooked up. I remember wearing a cardigan and scarf that day, so I could hide the electrodes on my chest. He drove me to work and school that day, and I pressed the little button when I felt one of my nagging symptoms. That night, I got terrible sleep, because it was so strange and uncomfortable wearing that monitor. I remember how miserable I was getting ready the next morning. My symptoms were so bad that I had to sit on the toilet to put on my makeup, and lay down before getting dressed. I was really hoping the monitor would get me some answers.

A few days later, the results came in and said I didn't have any abnormal heart rhythms. So, back to my doctor we went... I spoke with her again, and explained I was still having symptoms and had even cut down my caffeine to only one coffee a day in attempt to feel better. She said she was leaning toward me being overly stressed, since my plate was so full. However, she wanted to see if they could get me to pass out, and ordered a tilt-table test. I don't remember how long it was before I had the test, but it was about a week. During that week she had me take 1/4 of the smallest dose of beta blockers. By the time I cut the pills, they were smaller than a grain of rice. However, within an hour of taking the medicine I threw up, was very cold, started shaking, and got extremely lightheaded. So, I was taken off the beta blockers. After that happened, I hoped the tilt table test would provide some answers.

My Tilt Table Test

I was strapped to a table across my chest and legs, and hooked up an IV. The IV line was used to give me a medicine that would force my body into the state that would most likely recreate my symptoms. My reaction to the medicine was so intense that they had to turn the rate the medicine was dropping to the lowest possible. My heart rate was still very high, but they were able start the test. I had to be tilted upright, with that medicine hooked-up for about 20 minutes.

Those were some of the longest minutes of my life. My heart rate got so high I remember feeling my heartbeat in my veins and brain, as well as the worst of the symptoms I was already experiencing. It was miserable, but I didn't pass out. They tilted me back down, and let me relax for a few minutes. Then, they took some time to explain that my body's reaction to the medicine was so strong, and I should stop taking decongestants until I could get back to my doctor. After that test, I remember calling my boss to let him know the test was harder than I expected, and he let me take the day off. So, my mom drove me back to their house, and I slept on their couch until Jason go done at work.

The results from that test said I did have a normal heart rhythm, but it drew attention to the fact that my heart was very sensitive to their medicine. So I was told to eat more sodium, drink liquids like Gatorade and Powerade, limit caffeine, and keep stress as low as possible. However, POTS was never brought up as a possibility.

Finding an Answer

I felt like there was something more, so my husband and I did our own research. My symptoms slowly diminished, and became more manageable. Our lives started changing so much the following months, and we slowly stopped looking for the answer. I still was having symptoms with some times worse than others. When they got really bad, I would take 2 or 3 days off from work and basically hibernate. My husband was awesome during those times, and would wake me up for a few minutes during those days so I would eat soup and drink water, Gatorade or Powerade.

After over a year of living like that, we decided to look for a doctor in our area.  A few months later I go in with a wonderful doctor. I told her about all about what was happening, and she listened to everything I said. I mentioned POTS, and she did an in-office test to see if I had the heart rate increase outlined to be diagnosed. I failed with flying colors.

Even though there's no cure for POTS, it was a great feeling finally getting an answer. Being diagnosed gives me some hope. When I'm having bad days like today, I know there are other people who feel like this, too. I hope that by sharing my story, I'm able to give someone else hope by knowing they're not alone in their POTS journey.

Long time no see!

It's been a while since my last blog post and a lot has changed. My husband and I sold our house in Lansing, and moved to Gaylord. We closed on our house there mid May, and we are now updating that house. I'm really excited to share everything we have going on and get back to blogging here. I my goal is to write a post a few times a month, but it might take me a little bit to get back into the swing of things. Anything you would like to see?!

Taming The Jungle

Since the weather has been nice the past few weeks, my husband and I have taken on the daunting task of taming our back yard (or as Jason calls it, the Jungle). The photo above was taken in August when we moved into the house, and there were bees, spiders, snakes, poison ivy, and much more hiding in there. Needless to say, we do not want it to get that bad ever again. So, we started early, and have put a lot of blood and sweat into this backyard so far. We were even able to recruit family and friends to help one weekend. Ironically taming the backyard started with clearing out the front yard.

Jason started by removing a bunch of overgrown ground cover along the driveway and a fence that was falling down. We're going to replace most of this area with grass, but the part along the house has a beautiful weeping cherry tree, and I wanted to keep that here. So we moved daylilies and hostas from the jungle into this area, and added some lava rocks.

The daylilies were already quite large, so I started transplanting them all around the house; we even started giving some away, because there's so many. Our goal is to have as many daylilies and hostas transplanted, so we don't have to worry about killing them with weed killer and we can put down grass in the jungle area. I am still amazed at how many we have left to move. Once I got a decent amount of daylilies moved, we got some help to rake the area and look for the hosta that were just starting to sprout. We've found about 10 plants, but they're each 12-24 inches in diameter. Since there's so many and they're so big, we're still deciding where they're going to be moved to...

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The weekend we had people over to help my mom and I started planting vegetable seeds in cardboard egg cartons, and Jason built me a raised garden bed. I'm really excited, because seedlings started to poke through about a week ago and now I have at least 3 seedlings of each plant! I'll definitely keep you posted on how my first garden goes throughout the summer.

Last weekend Jason and I did the most strenuous thing yet: pulling out over 150 square feet of patio pavers that were hiding in the jungle last summer. There were soooo many! We've had a few ideas of how to use them, but I'm pretty sure they're going to stay next to the deck until we get grass back there. We definitely don't want to move them any more than we have to.

No matter how much blood, sweat and tears goes into this backyard, it will all be worth it. In the end, this is what makes a house a home.

What yard work have you started already year?

Making a Cleaning Schedule

Making a cleaning schedule has changed my life! I have been super stressed about cleaning, and feeling like I was spending my whole evening and weekend cleaning or worrying about not having time to clean everything. So I went to Pinterest to see what others were doing for their cleaning schedules. Most of the ones I found had a list of every day chores (some  broke it down to morning and evening), another list for with a chore for each day, and a third list of things that don't need to be done every single day or week. I like the idea of a cleaning schedule, because if you miss a day you'll do it next week and the other areas of your house are still staying clean. It's been great having it as a check list before I walk out the door in the morning and when I get home at night. There's no worrying about what I'll clean, and when I'll get to it.

Making My Schedule

I took schedules and ideas from 3 or 4 different cleaning schedules to make my own. Since I work full-time I wanted to split up my morning items and my evening items, so I didn't get overwhelmed when I'm trying to get ready for work or trying to wind-down for bed. Also, I only wanted to spend an extra 15 minutes in the morning for the chore of the day, because I knew I could fit that in my current morning routine. Next, I wanted to make sure I vacuumed at the beginning of the week, because if we have people over or we're working outside there tends to be a lot of dirt tracked throughout the house. However, Buddy sheds a lot and I don't want to have people over on the weekend and have dust bunnies made of dog hair everywhere. So I added a quick vacuum on Thursday when I mop to make sure there's not a bunch of dog hair around my house. Another thing I did to make this schedule better for me is doing a load of laundry each day (wash it in the morning, dry it before dinner, and fold and put it away after dinner). I did this because I was trying to do laundry only on the weekend but we always seem to be gone or have people over and it wouldn't get done. Then most of our clothes would be dirty, and it was really overwhelming to wash, fold and put away 2+ weeks of clothes in a day.

Making Your Own Schedule

The best way to pick a cleaning schedule that works for you is think about your day. You might not find the perfect cleaning schedule for you online, but making a cleaning schedule is super easy to do yourself. Start by finding out what other people are doing (eh hem... Pinterest). Maybe you don't like the idea of the daily chore being all over the house, but would rather designate a room a day. Or maybe you are waaaayyy better at doing all your laundry all in one day (unlike me) and you can choose a day to do laundry. It's honestly super easy to make a cleaning schedule in Word or Publisher, and you can make one that fits your home's decor. Honestly, I'm sooo happy I took the 20 minutes to make my own, because it has saved me from a ton of stress!

Do you have a cleaning schedule?

My Growing Love of Candles

 

_DSC1418.2A few months back we had a terrible storm in the Lansing area, and power was going out in neighboring towns. In perpetration to lose power I rounded up the handful of candles I owned and lit them as daylight faded. Hours later we decided we should go to bed, and made sure to set alarms on our phones in case we lost power over night. As I went to blow out the candles I realized only 1 remained; the rest I had burned through and had to be thrown in the trash come morning. As I threw them away I was sadden because I loved the warmth our home had while they were lit. 

Since then I have been slowly collecting some candles, and my favorite by far was a house-warming present - Harvest Gathering by White Barn. We have found ourselves leaning toward candles with the warm, spiced food scents (like pumpkin and apple pie). The reason I'm writing this post is because I'm looking for some help... What candles should I get? I've heard great things about Bath and Body Works candles, but I haven't been out there yet and I don't know what scents I should try. Other than that, I don't know where else to look for candles.

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Taking a Quick Bathroom Break

I'm going to be on a short blog hiatus this week. My husband and I are working every night to finish our biggest project - the basement bathroom - before our families come over this weekend. Sadly this means no new beauty videos or posts this week. Don't worry! I will continue the Fall Products Trilogy next week and I have another video tutorial that I'm hoping to find time to edit in the next week or two. Thank you for your patience and I'll see you next week!

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Kitchen & Dining Room Update: Servin' Up A New Design

We were so excited to get rid of the brass finishings and put up a fresh coat of paint in our kitchen. It was amazing how a few small changes made such a large impact.