Life Lately #3

Hello everyone! Hope you’re well! I began these ‘Life Lately’ posts in April as a way to round up what I’ve been up to and document where my head and I have been. I break the post down into categories and update you on each one. This will be the last Life Lately post as I am toying with a new segment for 2018 which will include more regular updates, possibly posted weekly. (Some of you may know three is my favourite number so it’s fitting I’m ending this mini-series after the third installment).

Blogging

I have been super consistent with my posting schedule and I have been getting posts written in advance. I am still learning about my camera and getting to grips with the settings to try and make sure my blog photos are acceptable. If you have any tips or feedback on my photos, please feel free to share! I have been thinking about the blog in the near future and as I mentioned in the intro my two posts a week may be going back up to three. I conducted a survey a couple of months back so I will re-read the answers and make sure I’m incorporating what my readers said they want as much as I can.

Work

In the last Life Lately update I had left my job and was getting ready to start at the library. I have been at the library for almost three months now and the difference in my mindset is very noticeable. I have more time and freedom and more of a work/life balance. I’m not stressed and I generally feel happier.

Personal

Everything on the relationship front is still going really well. It was my boyfriend’s 25th birthday in September and I surprised him with 25 presents. Related post: Boyfriend’s Birthday Surprise!

I have been reading a lot and shopping a lot it seems too. I’ve picked up some bargains and purchased new products that I have slowly been trying/using/wearing. (Most items are beauty/makeup related, good beauty blogger). Related posts: My Recent Purchases and My Recent Purchases #2.

I have also done the majority of my Christmas shopping and wrapped the presents I’ve bought. I’m not a big fan of Christmas but I do like giving gifts and wrapping them.

In October I got my hair cut. I don’t know why but I don’t feel satisfied with my hair 90% of the time I get it cut. I like the way it looks when the hairdresser styles it but a couple of days later it’s thick again. I like to keep my hair routine easy and I don’t use styling tools often. I’m still trying to decide if I prefer my hair all one length or with longer layers.

Music

I ordered an album package from Shania Twain’s store and I’m still waiting for it to arrive! I ordered it over two months ago and have sent numerous emails to the help team. At first the item was out of stock and now there’s a problem with the delivery partner. I honestly wish I had physically gone to a store and bought the album and not got all the extras. I’m only seeing the order through because my money has been taken and the order can’t be cancelled.

Steps re-released Tears On the Dancefloor this month (with new tracks) and I ordered a copy signed by my favourite band member, Lisa. My CD arrived this week. I have had the album on repeat since April!

2017 Goals Progress

Related Post: Hello 2017!

I have been exercising pretty regularly. I want to find some leg yoga to try and tone my legs up for summer so I’ll feel more comfortable in shorts. I am going with the flow more and definitely haven’t been stressing about blogging. I’ve got a social media routine and try to keep my time using it to a minimum – I check it in the morning and in the evening. I tend to check Instagram more if I’ve posted that day. I’m sad to say I haven’t done any more driving and I want to make that a priority in 2018.


What have you been up to recently?

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Updated: My Blog Planner

One of the biggest aspects to blogging is planning and scheduling posts. I like planning and being organised so I find it fun to sit down and look at the month ahead and pencil posts in.

In March 2016, I gave you a look Inside My Blog Planner. I also explained how I use Microsoft Excel alongside my notebook. Since then the way I plan has changed slightly. I wanted to show you how and explain the reasons behind the change.

Towards the end of 2016 and the first few months of 2017 my posts weren’t as regular as they had been. There were a few different factors: I recently entered into a relationship, my mum was seriously ill and my work hours increased. It wasn’t until March/April 2017 that I got back into a routine and wanted to start committing to blogging again.

I now use an A5 notebook instead of an A4. I no longer use one page for each week of posts. I have a double page spread, on the left hand page I list the dates of each Tuesday and Thursday in the month (these are my posting days) and then I can fill in from there. Generally the first post in a month is my daily highlights from my gratitude journal and the last is my monthly favourites. I then look at the dates and think about seasonal or timely posts or any special occasions I have coming up. I write between 8-10 posts a month and a month can fill up surprisingly quickly. (When I posted three times a week it was closer to 13 posts per month!)

On the right hand page I jot down notes that relate to posts on the left hand side. For example, I’ll jot down songs for monthly playlists and keep track of favourites so I remember to mention them. It also means I can look back at previous favourites so I’m not talking about the same products over and over again.

I still use a colour coding system. Page headings are written in pink, post dates are written in red, post titles/ideas are written in blue and planning notes on the right hand page are written in purple.

Here you can see how I lay out the pages and my colour coding system.

Excel used to be a big part of the planning process but I no longer use it to plan. It’s much easier to have everything in one place and written on pages adjacent to each other. I also don’t have to worry about unsaved changes or forgetting to update my spreadsheet. I’m a pen and paper planner rather than a digital planner.

Weekly blog views are now recorded in my Filofax. There is a notes section in the monthly layout. Monthly views are also recorded in the same column.

I hope you enjoyed seeing how my planning has evolved! How do you plan for blog posts?

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New Series: What I’ve Been Reading

To coincide with starting a job at the city library I wanted to start a new blog series. This new series will be a list of the books I’ve been reading and the books I’ve finished. I have always loved reading and have visited libraries since I was a kid.

There will be a seasonal round up every three months starting with September 2017 – November 2017 i.e. New Zealand springtime. The next will be December 2017 – February 2018 then March 2018 – May 2018  and June 2018 – August 2018. I am encouraging myself to read more now that I will have time to do so and I am committing to these posts for the next year. I’m aiming to read 50 books in that time which is roughly a book a week – let’s see if I meet the target!

Each post will feature a list of books read, the author’s name, any other important information and a short synopsis. I will also include whether I liked the book or not.

Books will only be included in the list if they are finished within the same seasonal three month period. For example, I start a book in August 2017 but don’t finish it until September 2017, therefore it is allowed to be included in the Spring list.

I will happily take book recommendations! I have got a handful of books to get me started and already have others on my ‘To Read’ list.

I hope you’re looking forward to this series as much as I am!

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Life Lately #2

Hi everybody! Hope you’re well! In April I wrote a post called Life Lately #1 rounding up what’s been happening and what’s going on. There have been some changes recently and I wanted to keep you all in the loop.

Blogging

Since I started my two posts a week routine on Tuesdays and Thursdays I have been sticking with it and manage to get two posts up nearly every week. I purchased a Canon 700D DSLR in July and purchasing that was an investment that got me excited to blog again. I have been experimenting with the camera and taking photos which have featured in posts on the blog.

Here are a couple I’m particularly proud of:

Work

In July I applied for a job at the city library. I was selected for an interview and offered a position a few weeks later. Things had been building up at my current job for a while and I felt some personal issues were getting in the way of my work. I was doing long hours (two 10 hour days) plus both weekend days and honestly I felt stuck in a rut. The library job was an easy decision for me, I’ve always loved books and reading and I even read at work. My last day of work was August 20 and I started at the library a couple of days later on August 23 – the day this post goes up! It was sad to say goodbye to the friends I made but I will go back to say hello and don’t want to forget them. I am excited for my new job and I hope it brings relief and less pressure/stress.

Personal

My boyfriend and I are still going strong and in September we celebrate our one year anniversary! I can’t believe how quickly that time has gone but I feel so lucky to have met him and had his support and presence the past 12 months. It’s also his birthday at the end of September and I have got something super special planned. (I am still debating whether it will get a blog post or not…)

Health wise I haven’t been as strict with my eating as I would like, some days I reach for the chocolate when I know I shouldn’t. I’ve felt self conscious of my weight, particularly around my neck. I have been monitoring my medication and stopped my antihistamine nasal spray as it contains steroids and that could contribute to the weight gain and affect my appetite making me want to eat more. My exercise routine has been haphazard but I’m hoping the new job will fix that and I’ll be able to get into a better routine and get back into a positive mindset.

Music

Two of my absolute favourite musicians are releasing albums in September; Shane Filan and Shania Twain. Both are huge inspirations to me and I always look forward to hearing new music from them. This is Shania’s first music in 15 years and Shane’s third studio album since Westlife split up in 2012.

Martine McCutcheon also released her first album in 15 years. Martine is a British singer/actress who you may recognise as Natalie from Love Actually – her most famous role. Martine had a string of top 10 singles in the 90s/00s and returned to the music scene this year with her album Lost and Found, written alongside her husband. The album has uptempo, rocky tracks mixed in with heartfelt ballads. I’m particularly loving the debut single, Say I’m Not Alone.

2017 Goals Progress

Related post: Hello 2017!

I briefly mentioned my exercise routine which I am hoping to get back into properly in the coming weeks. I continue to work on taking each day as it comes and this is one thing that requires a lot of effort – I am a constant worrier and always like to have things planned but I’m trying to get better! I haven’t been stressing about blogging and I don’t use social media a lot. I’d say I spend 1 hour at the most each day on social media (not including blog post writing). I have made a small amount of progress with driving. I reversed the car out of the garage and drove it back in twice. I will have more spare time with my new job so I want to put more effort into driving.


What’s been happening in your life recently?

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Hey, It’s Okay… To Be Different

Hello! It’s been a while since my last Hey, It’s Okay… post. They are some of my favourite posts to share and some of the most read and most popular on the blog. I still have so many things I want to talk about in these posts but instead of committing to one every month, I tend to write them when I feel strongly about certain topics.


Most of my life I have felt different. It’s a hard feeling to describe but one of the easiest ways I can think of is a square peg in a round hole. It’s not so much a feeling of isolation but more to do with the way I think and how I perceive things. Right now I am super proud of the person I am! I don’t let being an individual define me as much as it once did.

I want to use this post to explain some of the ways I have felt different but at the same time I realise other people may deem these differences as ‘normal’.

School

At school I was the well behaved student, who always handed work in on time and always did her homework. I didn’t perceive myself as better than the other students, I’ve always had a strong work ethic and was worried what would happen if I didn’t get it done on time. I thought I would get a detention or get in trouble. I was never a big fan of the social element of school either, I didn’t party or drink alcohol. I never made drunken decisions I would later regret and did well academically. 

Blog Monetisation

I have spoken about this briefly before and in fact dedicated a whole post to it *HERE*. I never started blogging with the intention to make money from it. I don’t get paid to review products and I have never been sent anything to review. I don’t mind the fact I don’t do this because my readers know this blog is purely me and I talk about products I have purchased with my own money or won through giveaways. Having so many new products to review and write about would overwhelm me. I very much like comfort zones.

Dating & Relationships

Before I met my boyfriend I had no previous relationship experience and sometimes I felt like I was strange and that there was something wrong with me. I never felt like I had to have a boyfriend and it would happen when I was ready but now I don’t see what I was worried about. Even though I had never been in a relationship before I don’t feel awkward in any situations and feel like I have to act a certain way. I’m just me and I’m so thankful the person I met I can be myself around. I also feel like our relationship is ours. We’re not a showy couple, we don’t even have a picture together (yet) but we don’t mind. We don’t have rules, we just enjoy being with each other.

Work

Work is kind of like school for me. I follow the rules, do what my boss tells me to do and I always turn up on time. I’ve never taken a sick day in my current job and have only not turned up to work once because my mum was ill. I go to work to do my work, I’m focused on the task at hand and take pride in my abilities. I would be scared to take the day off work for no reason, I couldn’t bring myself to do it because I’m so honest. I’m not saying other people don’t have this approach to work but I always see and hear people talking about the younger generation’s work ethic and whilst there are some people who do slack off and don’t want to learn, I’m the opposite.

My Mind

There is one link tying this whole post together; my mind and the way I think. The way I think is very considerate and 95% of the time tends to favour other people and their feelings rather than my own. I think about things in an abstract way and present options that aren’t what would be considered the norm. I’m calculated in how I act and what I say and like to think I have a high emotional intelligence (EQ). I am smart and focused and I know what I want. I have morals and standards but I don’t try to impose those on anyone else. I understand that everyone is an individual and they make their own choices and decisions. At times I feel like my mind is wise beyond my years but I am sensible and organised and that has always taken me far. Your mindset is important, it determines how you think and how you act.


I am proud of the person I am and I don’t see these things as differences anymore. It’s all about perception and how you choose to deal with them that matters. It’s okay if you didn’t like school but turned up everyday because you wanted to do well in exams, it’s okay if you’ve only had one relationship at age 22 and most of all it’s okay if you think outside of the box and not like everyone else. Being different is what makes you special!

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2017 Goals: Mid-Year Progress

We are well and truly over halfway through 2017. In the very first post on Chanelle Hayley for 2017 I set myself five main goals for the year. I wanted to take stock of where I am personally six months in and I thought it might be nice to share how I’m getting on with you as well. Hope you enjoy!

Goal #1: Get back into exercising regularly

Over the past few months I have been using my Exercycle more. When I first got it I would use it nearly every single day but I have been really busy the past 12 months and haven’t found as much time for it as I would like. Currently, I try to cycle four times a week. Last week I did yoga for the first time in ages but I was on my back a lot which isn’t the best for me. If I do get back into yoga I will do more sitting/standing routines so I don’t strain my back or neck. Kaily from Hello Kaily has inspired me to start doing squats again. I did a 30 day squat challenge a couple of years ago and I loved it! My aim is 50 a day on top of exercycling or yoga.

Goal #2: Take each day as it comes

This is literally one of the hardest things for me. I get anxious and worry about things easily and some days I find it difficult to relax and let go. At times the feelings are overwhelming. I hope to try and do better in the second half of 2017.

Goal #3: Don’t stress about blogging

At the beginning of the year my blogging routine was pretty sporadic. I have gotten into a better routine and I take extra time to plan posts. I have cut down to two posts a week and it is more manageable. My content has been less beauty based this year but I haven’t been purchasing a lot of makeup. I’m happy with the direction of the blog and I am positive about the near future.

Goal #4: Cut down on social media

If you saw last Thursday’s post you will know I’ve had a reshuffle of my social media. I deleted Bloglovin’ and the blog Facebook page as the audience I was reaching was tiny and most people who liked the page follow me elsewhere on social media – they won’t miss out on anything! I also changed my Twitter username and made the decision to use Pinterest for personal, creative purposes. Pinterest and Facebook weren’t growing the blog and I’d rather use social media I enjoy the most.

Goal #5: Drive

It’s already been one year since I passed my driving test and got my Learner License. It still makes me nervous when I sit in the driver’s seat and as a result I have only moved a car on two occasions. If/when I get more time I think the best thing is to get a few lessons either with my mum or an instructor. I don’t know if I’ll be ready to sit my Restricted License test by the end of the year but driving is something that I have to focus on and eventually I’ll get there.


Did you set any goals for 2017? How are you progressing?

P.S. Have you taken my blog survey yet? *CLICK HERE* to do so.

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Life Lately #1

Hi everyone! I hope you’re all well!

I have seen these ‘Life Lately’ segments on other blogs and I always think they’re a nice way to round up what’s happening/what’s currently going on. I haven’t abandoned my blog but I’m not blogging regularly. I want to share what’s going on with me in different areas of my life and just have a bit of chat. Who knows, this could even turn into a little series?!

Blogging

I haven’t been blogging as much as I would have liked over the past little while. In November 2016 I wrote this post about motivation which explains the reasons why. These still apply (minus travel) but also there were family related incidents that cropped up in January and February. In March I feel like I got back into more of a routine with blogging and in general and over the next couple of months that will improve. Post ideas haven’t been jumping out at me so I want to make sure I have plenty up my sleeve and don’t run out. I don’t like posting for the sake of it.

Work

As you may know I started my current job in August 2016. I have been there nearly eight months now and in February my hours increased a significant amount. I haven’t had as much time to blog as a result but as I said I am getting into a better, more constant routine and naturally that spark will come back.

Personal

Relationship wise, everything with my boyfriend is good. It’s been seven months since we first met and I love spending time with him now just as much as I did at the beginning. We always make time for each other and I’m always thinking about him. We message each other every day and I love just being able to relax and chill out when I’m at his house.

I’m a person who can get frustrated and stressed very easily. I’m sensitive and can get upset over small, trivial details. A couple of times over the past few weeks I have worked myself into a mood and felt like I’ve been crying more. I don’t know if it’s because I’m tired or if it’s just the fact I’ve never been a go with the flow person and like to have things planned and organised. I’m still working on learning to care less and it’s something I’ve been trying to do for a number of years. Thankfully, I’ve got a lovely boyfriend on hand that I know I can share things with.

Music

I didn’t feel 2016 was a standout music wise but this year is shaping up to be so far! Two members of The Saturdays have released solo material. The styles of music are completely different but I’m a fan of both Una’s folky-country pop and Vanessa’s smooth R&B. I’m pretty sure Shania Twain is releasing new material this year, her first in over 10 years so I can’t wait to hear it! 90s/00s pop super-group Steps are also releasing an album of original tracks on April 21st – less than two weeks away! They released a new single last month and are touring The UK in November and December.

2017 Goals Progress

In my Hello 2017! post I set five goals for myself for the year. I am doing well with the majority of them. I have gotten back into using my Exercycle and I try to ride 10kms three-four times a week. I work weekends and evenings so I try to squeeze it in around that. I don’t mind that that is my main form of exercise. I haven’t done yoga for a long time and I can Exercycle while I’m watching TV and multitask. I haven’t been stressing about blogging, I’ve been getting posts up as often as I can. I have cut down on the amount of time I spend on social media. I check my accounts two or three times a day and if I have notifications I respond. It’s about quality rather than quantity, if I don’t have something worthwhile to share I won’t. I haven’t progressed much with my driving although I did drive my boyfriend’s car (which is a manual) about 5 metres and I didn’t stall it! That was my very first time controlling/moving a car.


At times lately it feels like my life is eat, sleep, work, and repeat. I’m trying to find a balance and get back into what I enjoy.

What’s been happening in your life recently?

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The Mystery Blogger Award

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I haven’t done an award post for a while despite being nominated for a few lately! I’m sorry I haven’t gotten back to those of you who have nominated me but it’s because I’ve accepted the award previously. I do want to take this opportunity to mention and thank you all though.

In no particular order:


Last week I was nominated for The Mystery Blogger Award by Faded Rouge – thanks a bunch for thinking of me!

Rules:

  • Put the award logo/image on your blog.
  • List the rules.
  • Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well.
  • Tell your readers 3 things about yourself.
  • You have to nominate 10 – 20 people.
  • Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog.
  • Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question.
  • Share a link to your best post(s).

“Mystery Blogger Award” is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging; and they do it with so much love and passion.”

Okoto Enigma

3 Things About Myself:

  1. I have thought about starting a YouTube channel but I don’t know where I’d find the time. Plus, I’d be super camera shy!
  2. I prefer buying physical copies of CDs rather than buying music digitally.
  3. I enjoy seeing the reaction on people’s faces when I’ve done something nice for them.

My Best Posts:

  1. Review: MAC Patisserie Lipstick
  2. 30 Day Squat Challenge
  3. Rimmel Match Perfection: Old vs. New

Questions I Was Asked:

  1. Winter or Summer? Winter, I hate not being able to cool down.
  2. Hot chocolate or tea? I don’t drink hot drinks very often but hot chocolate.
  3. Earphones or headphones? I have quite a small head so I prefer earphones, the Apple ones are the best for my small ears.
  4. 3 things you would take to a deserted island. (A person does not count!) Music, clothes and tools so I could keep myself occupied, warm and build things.
  5. Short or long hair? On myself, long hair. Always.

I’m going to cheat and nominate anyone who wants to do this tag! I’d like you to answer the same questions I was asked.


Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this post!

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Hello 2017! + Resolutions

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Hello and Happy New Year! Welcome to 2017!

I’m writing this post on Monday 2 December 2017 as I listen to Steps – Gold. I felt this was significant to note because Steps always make me happy and there has been confirmation Steps are planning to mark 20 years since they formed this year. I was listening to the album to celebrate. You know when you have something (or someone) that makes you so happy and you just want to burst – that’s what Steps are for me, they are more than just a band. It’s a feeling of pure happiness and it makes you smile like crazy. I want the rest of my year to be like that.

I’m a very reflective person and often I find myself going over things that have happened instead of letting them be. It’s a blessing and a curse. On one hand you’re remembering what it taught you and how it was beneficial but on the other hand you spend so much time analysing instead of being present. It’s part of my nature to worry and overthink but one thing 2016 taught me is to care less. I don’t mean that in a negative way, but I started to focus more on myself instead of everyone else. It doesn’t make you a bad person to spend time on yourself, you learn a lot and it teaches you independence. If nothing else this year, take time for you.

I also wanted to share a few of my resolutions:

1. Get back into exercising regularly.

I could count the number of days on one hand I didn’t Exercycle in 2015. The past couple of months have been so busy that any sort of routine has gone out the window.

Aim: Exercise 5 times a week. Exercycle twice a week and do yoga 1-2 times a week. For the remaining days, YouTube or a short workout – I’ve got a Fitness board with ideas on Pinterest.

2. Take each day as it comes.

Not everything can be planned. I am an organised person by nature so I definitely won’t be letting that slip but sometimes things crop up you aren’t prepared for and I’d like to get better at taking that in my stride. I want to be more flexible and open to change.

3. Don’t stress about blogging.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my blog lately and where it’s going. I still love makeup and don’t want to stop blogging but some days my motivation isn’t there. For example, I don’t have any upcoming posts planned and I kind of want to see where the month takes me. There are a few content questions I have: Would two posts a week be better? Can I come up with another 12 topics for Hey, It’s Okay…? Do people still read my blog? I’ve never blogged for popularity but it seems more competitive lately. Over the next few weeks I’m hoping the answers will fall into place.

4. Cut down on social media.

I’m not going to stop using social media but I don’t need to be on every platform. I am seriously considering getting rid of my Bloglovin’ account (I never use it) and the Chanelle Hayley Blog page on Facebook. People who like the page read my posts through WordPress and if you follow me on Instagram you’ll see my pictures. It’s the social media of mine with the smallest audience.

Also, let me know if you’d like #PinterestThoughtTuesday (where I share an inspirational quote I’ve found on Pinterest on Instagram) to return this year!

5. Drive

Driving makes me nervous and it’s something I’ve learnt not to force myself to do until I’m ready. It’s not knowing the road rules that worries me it’s just never having sat in the driver’s seat and being the one to make the car move. I don’t know what some parts of a car do and I’d like to improve my knowledge and work up the courage to sit my Restricted Licence test during 2017.


I’m looking forward to what 2017 will bring and I wish you all a wonderful year! What are your resolutions?

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I Wish You a Merry Christmas! 🎄🎅

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There’s only two more sleeps left until Christmas! Part of me is more excited this year as I’ve enjoyed buying and wrapping my presents and I can’t wait to see the reaction on people’s faces when they open my gifts. I like to buy to suit each person and try and make gifts personal in some way. For example, my mum and I love cryptic crosswords so I plan to hide her gifts and give her clues to help her find them. It’s fun and shows thought.

I’m so excited to be able to have someone special to celebrate with this year; my boyfriend! Relationships are still kind of new to me and at times I feel like there’s things I don’t know but that’s part of it and so far everything has been positive. All I can do is be myself and as long as we’re happy that’s what counts. It’s been almost four months since we first met and that time has gone so quickly.

Working in retail, I know I will make the most of my time off because the day after Christmas Day sends shoppers crazy! I have a short break before Christmas so I’ll be preparing myself for the madness haha. My brother is also coming down to spend Christmas with us and we’re off to my aunt’s on the actual day itself.

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and enjoy celebrating and spending time with your family and loved ones! I also want to thank you for the support for my blog this year! In June, we reached the two year mark and it’s weird to think this little space on the internet will turn three in 2017. Your support and kind words never fail to make me smile and I’m so proud of how much I’ve been able to grow as a blogger and a person as a result.

I will be back next week with a few end of the year posts but until then, Merry Christmas!

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