Haley’s (and Candice’s) Gift Guide!

You have less than ten days to finish the insane task of Christmas shopping. If you’re anything like me, you have no one on your list crossed off. Go us! So, here are some idea’s from mine and my best friend’s perspective on the top best and worst Christmas presents. We’ll start with the worst to help make your decision faster. 😉 Disclaimer: The thought still counts!

WORST PRESENTS. (Sort of.)

1. Knick Knacks that take up space.

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I know that ceramic cat is oh so cute, and describes me perfectly, but I probably have ten others. After a while, you run out of shelves, and tables, and wall space and whatever you need to display the last ten Christmas’.

2. Food.

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This comes across as a good idea (especially for men), and paired with something else that’s cool, it has potential. But really, as if the holiday weight we gained wasn’t enough? Forget the turkey! Here’s a gift wrapped block of cheese.

3. Christmas Decor.

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Thank you for my Santa, snowman, and reindeer entourage…that I now have to put away tomorrow. NO!

4. Lingerie.

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If you want to buy her panties that bad, just get her a gift card to Victoria’s Secret. No one wants to watch that awkwardness unfold in public. If it is a private gift? Well now you have to get a family appropriate one too. Also, don’t buy your husband lingerie for his main gift. He still wants something he can use, not temporarily enjoy before it hits the floor.

5. Necessities.

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Thanks for all the stuff I could’ve picked up at Walmart. Receiving that deodorant, or razor you’ve been meaning to pick up on the way home is not a present. Shampoo?! POO on that!!

GOOD PRESENTS.

1. Electricals.

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Record players, camera’s, phones, curling irons, etc…are all fabulous ideas IF they need it, want it, and don’t already own it. Yes, it’s on the pricey side. Look for a deal! If not, resort to a different idea.

2. Coffee Mugs (with hidden treasures.)

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Any one else’s friends and family have caffeine addiction? Oh hell, the whole world does. Coffee mugs are endless fun, useful, and collectables. Instead of just going with only a mug, put a hidden treasure inside. Jewelry, gift cards, package of their favorite coffee…get crazy!

3. Music.

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Because music always wins.

4. Shoes

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Men like shoes, women like shoes, everybody likes shoes. Shoes. PS – Sizing is easier than clothing.

5. Gift Cards/ Money.

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Everybody likes money, and gift cards are actually useful rather than impersonal especially for college kids, or newlyweds who are struggling (well that’s everyone these days.) This can actually make people happy (by getting what they need/want), and by saving you some time. Believe it or not, you are NOT a douchebag for choosing this option.

Well that is all that Candice and I could think of for now. I hope this makes the last minute madness a tad easier!!

-haley.

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The Last Good Day.

“There’s no way of knowing that your last good day is Your Last Good Day. At the time, it is just another good day.”  That line in itself from TFiOS is something I’ve pondered on the past week since I’ve driven almost twenty-four hours in just a few days. I spent time with my best friends in Albuquerque, enjoyed the New Mexican atmosphere where I gave my last words to my grandmother in a chapel over the phone. I received the news that she passed away that next morning, then drove to Odessa where our family home is, drove onto many other locations for the burial, then my brothers home in Dallas, then onto my hometown. Its been a whirlwind of events, and family which led me thinking about this one quote.

My first night in Odessa consisted of taking down our family home, and dividing out little things before the lawyers come in to appraise the estate, or whatever. I just sat there, and didn’t know how my mom remained so calm (she had been living there since she was five) and this was merely a home we came to for the holidays and summers as grandchildren. Many exciting Christmas’s, Easters, dress up parties, historical story telling, and family gatherings happened in this home for me. We were always moving as kids, but this home remained the exact same since nineteen sixty-four. Now the green carpet will be torn up, the vintage furniture will be hauled out, and all the family pictures removed from the walls. I tried to think of the last time I spent with my grandma, but even then the house was in the process of being packed up, and there were home nurses invading privacy. But still while gathering her Christmas decor its like I could hear her rummaging through the house with us yelling at herself, and us. Its weird. You see, I can’t remember the last good day, or the good family event. Why? Cause at the time, it was just normal, it was like any other.

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I never thought about our family Christmas’s, or my brother moving to a different city until it stopped. Now its an act of hoarding any little time I get with my brother, who I now have to drop off at the airport a couple of days later; He used to live right across town. Christmas’s are complicated, and an act of making appearances on each side of the family. Getting everyone together for the holiday feels like trying to schedule a meeting for the United Nations Council. It’s not tradition always, its ever-changing life now.

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Christmas’s that were large, and together? They are merely memories on a videotape. My brother living in town? Now its just stories exchanged between he and I before he leaves. The last good day; the lasting memories. Why do you choose to live a miserable life? Why do you choose to make decisions that don’t empower you, but hold you back? What will you have to look back on and cherish when you are too old to barely remember? People wonder why I’ve developed such a chase for adventure, to want to DO things, and create things, because of this! You can’t just pause life and say, “Wait, I’m collecting memories here!” No. It’s your job to create them, making them wonderful, and remember them because of that simply and beautiful line. You never know when life ends, or the opportunity. Put your phone down, your barriers, and try to remember the good days before they become your last.

-haley.

Instagram@haleyann92

Song of the week is “Christmas Time is Here” from Vince Guaraldi. Enjoy.

Wake Up.

Destroyed, defeated, and damaged. I really have no idea how else to explain how I’ve felt lately other than those few, and negative words. Taking a far step back to acknowledge everything, a reality hit me in the face and somewhat confused me at that. Why is it almost every humans goal, whether they realize it or they don’t, to destroy someone? As we walk the streets, and go about our days activities we really don’t take to account what all of our actions, and words can do to someone. Thats all part of the human brain though, we all have a different sense of perception, and some humans are ignorant towards that fact.

Someone once told me that love was “giving someone the power to destroy you, but trusting them not to.” How coincidental that he did that very thing, but its okay. Moving on, it honestly just all seems like one universal goal to break people down despite how we feel about ourselves. Posting about people, talking negatively (even if it is behind closed doors), and even TV shows that center their joy on making fun of people, and what outfit they chose to wear. Yes, I’m talking to you Fashion Police. I once loved that show, until I finally woke up. I am so incredibly guilty of this because its like we all evolve into this trance of these actions until we are awakened at how numb we’ve become to another persons existence. I know people who have flat-out said they don’t like me yet have no reason, and admitted to that. I mean really people? How is that humane or logical? Do you have blood pumping through your veins, and an actual heart? I guess you do, but you are just hardened by society.

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I definitely feel destroyed. People don’t think through their actions, and sometimes they have no intent to destroy, but that’s the way the cards fell. I’m tired of my cards falling, I’m tired of things ending, and I’m tired of feeling destroyed. How much lying, criticism, leading on, name-calling, gossiped about, ignored, and pushed over is one person supposed to take? And people wonder why programs such as To Write Love On Her Arms exist, which I’m a huge fan of by the way. Seriously, just stop. Whether its intentional, or not. I think you live a life that is more fulfilled, and not fabricated when you can truly step back and learn to love people you can’t even stand…if that makes sense. That takes actual strength. So, love; giving someone the power to destroy you, but trusting them not to? Love is a silly thing.

-haley.

Merry Christmas Y’all.

Just wanted to say Merry Christmas y’all! I am so thankful for my PH supporters and families. This in itself is a private little world to me that means too much to put into words. Congrats to Summer Gibson! You won the Angel ornament and a Just Breathe T-shirt! Also, check out the blogs Facebook page to stay updated with some private contests! http://www.facebook.com/phenomenalhaley I hope y’all love this blog as much as I do, and it’s definitely opened up a world I thought I would never see. Thank you so incredibly much for following, liking, commenting, sharing, and supporting. Enjoy your Christmas whatever you might be doing. Rocco and I will be doing absolutely nothing other than breathing treatments and relaxing. We are so glamorous. Merry Christmas y’all!

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I Am Determined.

I hope y’all are set for Christmas. If you are shopping tomorrow, shame shame. Its Christmas eve and you should be at home! Dont worry, I’ll be fricken working. I’m exhausted y’all.

christmasvintageIt looks like Rocco!

Anyways, I’m really feeling some determination lately to reach my goal. Wait, which one? All of them. I would love to be a published author eventually, and I really want this blog to be more of an inspirational place. To do that, I need to post more, keep y’all updated, and of course I need y’alls help too! Do whatever you can to share, post, like, and what not. Media is an overwhelmingly massive sea of so many individuals, so I’m really working my tail off. I’m so excited to try my hardest to not only make this a great place for my mind but y’alls as well. For some odd reason, I feel so inspired today. I have no idea where it comes from. Other than that, I need more coffee and some pain pills. After my awful mood I’ve been existing in for the past month, I finally took my pills last night. I’m paying for it today. Dont skip y’all! There will be a few posts later in the week that aren’t really PH centered, but they are extremely important to me, and I’m a loud person so I’ll be voicing my opinions on those topics. Stay tuned. Also, this blog has a FACEBOOK PAGE you can find and stay updated with! It’s so easy! http://www.facebook.com/phenomenalhaley     GO LIKE IT! There will be contests for Facebook people only sometimes, so make sure you are in that circle.

If you haven’t already, TODAY IS THE LAST DAY to submit your question to me to win the Hope Angel off my tree, and a Just Breathe T-shirt! Hurry Hurry loves. 🙂 I will see y’all tomorrow for a Christmas post! Song of the week is my absolute classic favorite, Nat King Cole’s “The Christmas Song.” Have a listen.

Last Minute Gift? Check.

This is by far the funnest thing I’ve ever done. Why? Because I love coffee, I collect coffee mugs, I love art, I love crafting…well, you get the point. Anyways, I think homemade gifts speak louder than the two hundred-dollar jeans you bought someone. If you are a last-minute person like me, don’t want to mess with the shopping crowds, and still want a unique gift then this is something you should definitely consider.

Not Just a Sharpie Mugs

photo(105)My mug reads, “I can fall in love with the sound of words.”

Shop Haley’s Zazzle Store!

Or Check out her book!

You will see these all over pinterest, except some people will lead you to believe that this can be done with just a regular sharpie. Well, yes, some people do it that way, but you will soon see your design fading away. I encourage you to instead purchase the super permanent, and perfect for this project “Sharpie Paint Pen.” Make sure to get the oil based pen, NOT the water based. They have a variety of colors to choose from, and since I’m dark and twisty I stuck to black. Moving on!

photo(108)I put a ring on the handle! Have fun with it!

I had hell trying to find cute ceramic mugs. Of course, they were right under my nose the whole time at walmart. This place has a whole section of just plain white ceramic dishes that excited the artist in me! I shall definitely be trying other things soon. Find the cups you will need, I chose a large more rounded mug. It’s all about your preference.

photo(106)I love surprises! Had to write this on the inside.

Shop Haley’s Zazzle Store!

Or Check out her book!

Once you get the mug home, make sure to clean it to get any hand oils and dust particles off the mug. After that you can start your work of art! You will need to shake the paint pen for a little pit, then press the tip down to get the ink flowing to it. DO NOT press it down on the mug. Once a mark is made, it cannot be removed, so carefully plot out your design. Also, the paint pen is moody. It’ll seem like its running out, and sometimes if you try to go over a part of the mug again it’ll look awful. Keep trying until the ink is in “full flow” mode again after shaking it and pressing the tip down again. If you can’t think of a design, get on Pinterest. For the person you’re gifting use their name, obsessions, loves, or whatever. It’ll make a fabulous personalized gift.

photo(107)Whiskers on the other side of course!

Once you are done designing, put the mug inside your NOT TURNED ON YET oven. You want to mug to preheat INSIDE the oven to prevent cracking. Turn it on, set the dial to 425 degrees, and then let the mug bake. Turn your timer to 35 minutes, and keep checking on your mug to make sure it doesn’t turn brown. It didn’t happen to me, but ya never know! The house will smell weird, but once checking on your mug after 35 minutes, if it looks good I gave mine another five minutes just in case. Once your extra optional time is up, turn off the oven and let the mug sit in there for another hour, almost two. It needs to cool down with the oven to prevent cracking.

After you pull your mug out of the oven, it should look the same! If there were some spots where your pen wasn’t as dark, it will seem even lighter on the mug now. Its okay, you know what to do next time. The pen will still have texture on the mug, I tried picking at mine to see (carefully) but nothing came off. Just remember, and tell the person this, NO DISHWASHER! Other than that your mug should be fabulous. Another idea? Get something small like jewelry, a gift card or whatever to wrap and put on the inside. Double surprise! 😉 Enjoy loves! Merry Texas Christmas!

-haley.

Its the Little Things.

Yesterday, I visited the school I worked at, walked into a classroom where children attacked me and screamed my name. It’s absolutely nothing, but visiting them made the holidays complete for me. Celebrating with the kids is so much fun. This time of year things are so ridiculously busy, and we are pushing ourselves to get shopping done, pleasing families, and friends, fixing the house up along with meals, that I think in a sense we lose base with whats keeping us happy. Maybe this is whats been happening with me, that I’ve been so covered up with keeping others happy, and “going with the flow” that I lose contact with what I really need. When you put your own life, your own happiness on the back-burner this is what happens. Exhaustion in every way possible.

photo(110)Didn’t my school look beautiful? This is what its all about.

Christmas always gets me thinking about in what ways we overextend ourselves, and exhaust our bodies to make things possible for people we care about. Yet, we end up rushing out to the stores practically ON Thanksgiving, ON Christmas Eve, the DAY AFTER Christmas in search to not only please them but ourselves. Tell me crazies, do you remember what you got for Christmas a couple of years ago? What about the Christmas after that? Exactly. I remember certain things but I can’t even remember what year it was, and what not. I do however remember what house I was at, what food we were eating, and what game we were playing. WHY? Because these holidays were invented for spending time with your family, and loved ones. Instead, America has turned it into a marketing scheme to “rush out, spend money and make everything perfect”. As a new generation, we are being taught the opposite of patience. We get faster, better internet speeds, faster phone calls, overnight shipping, waiting two minutes inline at the Starbucks is unbearable, and we want it all right now! Thats what our minds are being groomed with. Little to anyone I’ve ever met possesses more than an ounce of patience, or at least can act on it. “Oh, we opened your Christmas gift and it’s too small? Hell if its Christmas, we are going to the store right now to fix it!” Seriously people. On that little side note, America has stripped the value out of almost anything. I mean hell, our dollar isn’t worth anything so I guess everything else might as well go right down the toilet too. We’ve taken the value out of our holidays. It’s amazing to sit back and analyze my moms and dads Christmas photos. Everyone is dressed like they are going to prom, and no they didn’t go to a high school dance that evening, they went to church. On top of that, a fireplace is lit (or candles) along with the Christmas tree, they are all opening gifts, and then they are sitting around enjoying each other and discussing things. My mom talks about how they owned a piano, in which her mom would play, her dad would play the guitar and her grandpa would join in on a fiddle. Are you throwing up yet? Yes, those are cheesy stories but they are real. America has turned them into fictional, cheesy stories because we’ve been groomed to make sure those kind of events no longer exist.

I guess I went on a rant because visiting that school struck a chord in me. It is the simplest and littlest things that count. The decorations? My brother and I are the first to crack those out. Why? Because those matter a lot to us. Keeping the kids happy at school, and their beliefs in the magic of Christmas? That also means a lot to me. Eating a Thanksgiving meal, then sleeping the whole night until the next morning? Sounds great, instead of dealing with your shopping experience until five in the morning. Its sickening that Thanksgiving is no longer in existence. This turkey day is now defined by the shopping day that America so loves to embrace, so much that people get shot, killed, run over and what not. Don’t forget cyber Monday and the tens of thousands obnoxious emails you’ll be getting that day! Spending time with my family, instead of dealing with your stupid returns the day after Christmas? I’d rather be with my family, eating breakfast and talking than dealing with impatient strangers. Call me sour, call me crazy, I really don’t care. Holidays are holidays. You need to focus on your home, and stop focusing on the money. When you are dying one day, what will you want to cling to? That awesome shirt or iPad? The little things really do count.

Check out the new contest (under the contest tab) to win an ornament off my tree as well as a Just Breathe T-shirt!! 🙂

-haley.

Merry Texas Christmas

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So its been ten years since I’ve posted, and I’m sorry about that! Finally the kids are out of school, MY schooling is done for the semester and I can finally just lay in bed and play dead. It’s about time! It feels absolutely great to be able to do nothing, and on top of this my brother and his wife surprised me by coming into town! I am super content.

I just wanted to wish all of my readers a “Merry Texas Christmas Y’all!!” 🙂 Enjoy your holidays, don’t let the family drive you insane and don’t forget your pills and oxygen. 😉

-haley.

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A Deadly Passion

It’s DECEMBER!!

I don’t know about y’all but I have been in such a Christmas mood. It hasn’t happened in a long time, but this year I’ve gone a tad insane. I have a Christmas playlist a million miles long (which consists of Charlie Brown, Michael Buble, Paul McCartney etc…) , I’ve watched White Christmas (Favorite holiday movie EVER), I’ve watched Christmas Vacation and now I’m kind of obsessed with the Nutcracker. I’m not like overboard, crazy obsessed but ballet has always been an amazing passion of mine.

Ballet

I was enrolled into dance when I was extremely small and it was something my mom forced me into at the hopes that I would become less shy. It worked and I instantly took to it. I danced for years upon years and it became a part of my life, even though I complained the whole time. I participated in pageants (yes I was that girl), danced everywhere and placed as a first runner-up in Dallas out of one hundred and fifty talent girls and a thousand overall. Yes I’m proud, because while doing all this I could hardly breathe. I was in the gym two times a day (my mom wanted me extra fit for competition) and was in the studio five days a week. I was in the best shape of my life while not knowing that my heart and lungs were almost in the worst shape of my life. Somehow I was able to make it through extremely difficult dances for a long time, but I puffed on an inhaler and continued thinking that I wasn’t in shape enough.

Ballet

I finally reached a point where I was exhausted, tired of dance and I physically couldn’t meet the needs of the dances. I watched younger girls come in and do it bigger and better and I didn’t understand why I had been doing it for years, yet suddenly my body was coming to a straight up halt. I threw in the towel at sixteen and walked away. Two years later I was diagnosed and it explained so much. My doctors told me I could’ve died during any performance or practice from making my heart work too hard. I have a crazy amount of damage to my body from dance itself (hip damage, tendons, my feet are insanely damaged) but despite its crazy athletic nature it was extremely peaceful.

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As I look back on pictures, and watch different movies or ballets in person it just makes me very sad and almost hopeful that maybe I can get back into what I loved doing for such a long time. I love absolutely everything about the stage itself and performing! Maybe I can get back into teaching it as well. Its situations like this, where PH is silent, confusing and misleading. It took dance away from me temporarily and maybe I’ll take it right back one day. Don’t let the eye fool you. Never judge someone who is struggling, because sometimes you cannot typically “see” what is going on.

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