20 Things I’ve Learned By 20

In the movie Stuck in Love, author and father Bill tells his son Rusty “By the age of 18, a writer has experienced enough to write his first novel.” Today I turn twenty. I have much to learn and to experience, but I think at the age of two decades I can reflect on some of the truths I’ve discovered along this path to adulthood.

1. Everything  happens for a reason.

Now this is what everyone tells you when something goes wrong and my immediate reaction is “yup, okay, but why???” And every time I asked this, I received an answer over the course of time. 

2. Allow a creative thought to unfold.

I remember in 6th grade I had to answer the question when do you use fractions in your life? And everyone went around sharing and I said “tabs on Microsoft word.” The room fell quiet and my teacher just said “You’re an out-of-the-box thinker aren’t you?” Yes, yes I am.

3. Your family should be your best friends.

I’ve grown up always enjoying the company of my family. For me, there was nothing more entertaining than having a big family gathering and hearing old stories, laughing, and eating massive amounts of food. Still to this day, I cherish that. My family makes me who I am. 

4. Hold onto every moment you spend with your grandparents.

Birthday’s can be bittersweet. I used to go shopping with my grandparents every year on my birthday. On one day, my Memere and Pepere would take me to the mall, which would always include a trip to Friendly’s and Pepere getting paged at a department store. My Grammy would take me out on another day and she’d let me pick out an outfit and a toy. It was the best cuz she let me explore my style. I’d come back with some crazy outfit.

5. Faith comes to you when you need it the most.

Whether you’re religious or not, faith helps you get through even the toughest of times. Faith is believing. And sometimes the hardest thing to do in a rough spot is to believe that you’re going to get out of it. That’s when you do it anyway. 

6. People will make you think you don’t belong, don’t let them.

My junior high years were filled with insecurities about fitting in. I always felt it was something I did or something I said or something I wore that made me stand out. Now I realize I totally did stand out, but in the best of days. I want to go back and give that frizzy-haired eighth grader a high five for rocking her Target kids’ section Big Time Rush t-shirt when everyone else was wearing Hollister. You belong in bigger and better places, my friend.

7. If you want to dress up, then dress up. Wear what makes your heart happy.

I’m almost always over-dressed. I live for dresses, fun lip colors, and leather jackets. My style is best described by my father’s complaints. “Hayley go back inside, you can’t move a shed dressed like a fairy princess.” “Hayley’s shoveling dressed like she has an interview with the top designer at Macy’s.” which leads me to my next point: 

8. It’s okay to think your parents are cool. 

You know there’s always moments when you’re embarrassed by your parents. Trust me, my father once stood on his car and waved his arms shouting my name to flag me down when picking me up from high school. But how funny is that? He’s hilarious. My mom’s the same way. She’s funny. But I also brag about how she did undercover work back in the day. It’s pretty awesome.

9. If you feel called to write, pick up a pen.

When I was younger, I wrote songs. My first song was called “Argument.” It was a real hit. Lots of “oh’s”, lots of “woo’s”. Like all the best songs. It pays off to have the courage to pick that pen up. I mean, I’m writing this blog post. 

10. Use the gifts you were blessed with.

If you are a writer, then “write like you’re running out of time.” If you dance, dance your heart out. If you are a talker, then lead that debate team. If you can sing, join that chorus or show choir. Audition for that show. Just don’t let that talent go unnoticed. Let it out. Let it grow.

11. The best of friends always come back to you.

There have been times I thought I’ve lost a friend. And I have. But with time and healing, the friends who belong in your life come back and stay in your life. Those are the keepers. Those friends and the one’s who’ve been by your side all along.

12. Surround yourself with people who allow you to be you.

I have a friend that will listen to me summarize entire episodes of The Vampire Diaries. I have a friend that challenges me to running man challenge to the song “Hey Ya”. (Winner tbd). I have a friend who will sit in the parking lot of an ice cream stand with me blaring Phantom of the Opera and singing along. To the friends who offer me endless support, are there for me through thick and thin, who bring me “Dunks” when I “seem stressed.” Thank you.

13. Sometimes I just want a nice salad and sometimes I just want Ben and Jerry’s half-baked. Why not both?

A healthy lifestyle is a great thing to achieve. I try to find a balance. Allow yourself to have a treat every once and a while. Life’s too short. 

14. “Don’t settle.” -FM

If something doesn’t feel right, then don’t waste your time. Don’t settle for anything less than what makes your heart shine. This goes for anything, career paths, relationship, etc..

15. There’s always room in your heart for forgiveness.

Sometimes I want to hold a grudge and it lasts maybe a day until I feel too guilty. Forgiveness is hard but when you forgive, it makes you stronger and it relieves you from guilt and negativity.

16. Try new things. It’s okay to want to soak up all life has to offer.

One time I decided to play the role of “Romeo” in my eighth grade Romeo and Juliet Assignment. I fell in love with acting and the rest is history.

17. Everyone has their own definition of fun. Don’t let anyone try to change yours.

Sometimes my idea of fun is shopping with friends. Sometimes, it’s having a karaoke night. And other times it’s curling up in bed with a hot cup of tea and a good book and calling it a night.

18. Don’t quit your day job, but don’t quit your daydream.

Walt Disney was a paper boy first. I was a paper girl. Therefore, I am Walt Disney…jk. But my point is clear, every small job pays off.

19. Sometimes the best way to recover from a loss is to turn it around into something positive.

There’s always going to be a way for you to reach out and honor the memory of a loved one. (A theatre group that raises money and awareness for cancer? :O) And if there isn’t, make one. ūüėČ (Roger A. Cote Run for Courage). 

20. As a kid, I couldn’t wait to grow up. As an adult, I want to keep the child inside of me alive.

When I was little I loved to play dress up. In a way, theatre takes the place of this in my heart. I want to remember my younger self when I take on adulthood. The best advice I’ve received is to “Be the person you needed when you were younger.” 

As I finished this post, I’ve officially turned twenty. It doesn’t feel much different. Maybe I got taller…? Oh who am I kidding!


The Truth About Shy: It Doesn’t Exist

If I had a penny for the amount of times I texted a friend before the first day of a new class and said “I’m so nervous, I don’t know anyone and I’m shy”, I’d be rich. I ALWAYS use shy as an excuse. Why don’t you call and order your own food? I’m shy. Why don’t you ask for help? I’m shy. You knew them and you didn’t say anything? Why?¬†I’m shy. The list goes on. And the response is always the same. Oh, it’s okay to be shy. And because of this response I’ve always felt okay to say that I’m shy and it’s become my go-to excuse for any lack of confidence–

Until today. Today was the first day of my Acting I class and I was so nervous. Why? Because I’m shy. Well, my professor instantly wiped that thought from my mind. Upon asking the class if they were nervous at all, she said Don’t say you are shy because shy doesn’t exist. She went on to explain that shyness happened when we were in elementary school and someone a little louder, or a little taller, or a little thinner, etc sat in front of us in class and spoke up and made us shrink back a little. Year by year, we got quieter and quieter and someone said “you’re just shy.” Then we felt better because we had a word for what we were feeling that later developed into our favorite excuse. But the truth is, we never were shy at all. We just thought we were. img_5089

So I left the class feeling a little un-shy, to say the least. I think I’m going to make it a goal to outgrow this excuse. Who’s with me?

Have the best week!


I Need to Follow My Own Advice

Sometimes my brother will come up to me defeated after a struggle to learn a new piano piece, or to score a basket, or to catch a baseball and he’ll say “I can’t do it. I never will be able to, so why bother?” When he asks me this, I reply, “Don’t count yourself out before you’ve even started.”

And I wish I told myself this weeks ago. When the director of a production of The Drowsy Chaperone came up to me on day one and asked if I could guess which role I was playing, I think I listed every role, except the one I received. It was the show’s leading lady, the glamorous Janet van Der Graaf, originated by Broadway royalty, Sutton Foster, one of my idols. When I auditioned for the show, I didn’t even bother considering the role. From the beginning, I said I could never ever in a million years pull it off. It was too big a challenge in too little time. The notes were too high for my belt and the dancing and stage manner too poised and “out there” for my shy, clumsy self.

So upon accepting the role, I accepted the emotional beating I would endure while learning the part and trying to perfect it. It was a beating I placed on myself, of course, because everyone else seemed confident I was doing just fine. I, however, had already placed myself on the failure list before I even sang my first note. Eventually, with only one week to go, I learned to release the pressure I was forcing on myself, and remember why I was even there in the first place. The whole show was raising money for Mass General and I was dedicating my performance to my Grammy and remembering her got me through.



Me as Janet van Der Graaf in The Drowsy Chaperone. Photo taken by Nancy Webster

But I’ve done this before. In fact, the reason I haven’t posted on this page in months is because I accepted its failure. After my blog’s popularity seemed to die down after its first few posts, I was discouraged. That voice in my head that will tear me down rather than pick me up asked “What are you doing? This blog is going no where. Your dreams of growing this page past your few Facebook followers are flawed.” And how did I respond to this voice? I listened. I put writing new posts off until I was no longer posting anymore. And that was it. Back to wasting all my creative energy by checking Instagram and scrolling through Pinterest til my eyes are tired and it’s time for bed.

Except, one day I refreshed my Gmail to find an email from a name I didn’t recognize. This person had connected with me through the contact information page of my blog. The message read :

Hi there.

I really like what you do here and I’ve been awfully silent about it. I noticed you haven’t blogged in a while. Can you please start doing that again? I can assure you that you at least have one fan that has been waiting for another post. I hoped reaching out might help make that happen but it’s really up to you. Please consider doing more.

I admit, this person truly came to me at a time I needed the most. To distract myself from the anxiety I was feeling with my lead role, I had written out a list of potential blog posts and started writing a new article. I was considering blogging again. The next day, I received this message from a follower, a follower outside my Facebook followers. He was one of the many people I have the potential to reach out to if I just try. And this follower reached out to me personally to try to encourage me to keep going. It was just the push I needed.

That’s all it takes. Trying. Your goals aren’t achieved over night. It just takes determination and confidence. And not counting yourself out before you’ve even begun.

So long story short: I’m back and better than ever. Let’s spread some love.


5 Songs that Inspire You to Keep Going

I think everyone needs a power playlist. It has to be a list of songs you can go to when you need some motivation to get through the day. For me, I refer to a few songs when I just need a friendly reminder that everything is going to be okay and that I am okay. So today, I am sharing with you five of the songs that inspire me to keep going.

My Inspo Playlist

  • “Time Will Come” by Kris Allen- Back in 2009, Kris Allen won the eighth season of¬†American Idol.¬†This song is featured on his fourth album titled¬†Letting You In. “My Time Will Come” is featured on my playlist for it’s inspirational message spoken throughout the song “so I keep on moving on, cuz I know my time will come”. It’s a song to listen to when you feel as though you are at a standstill place in your life. This will remind you that everyone has their time. https://youtu.be/nrPUPhViVVI
  • “Wait for It” by Leslie Odom Jr. and the cast of¬†Hamilton-¬†Along the same line as my previous song choice, this song shares the message that everyone grows at their own pace. In an interview about the song, writer Lin-Manuel Miranda said “I think we’ve all had moments where we’ve seen friends and colleagues zoom past us, either to success, or to marriage, or to home-ownership, while we lingered where we were- broke, single, jobless. And you tell yourself, “Wait for It”. At the same time, this song is something I listen to when I fear as though my anxiety is taking control of me. When this happens, the line “I am the one thing in life I can control. I am inimitable, I am an original” rings out and helps me get through.¬†https://youtu.be/ReTP6x_sDiM
  • “Up&Up” by Coldplay- This is off Coldplay’s “Head Full of Dreams” album and I only recently have connected with this song. It’s calming beat along with inspiring lyrics like “we’re gonna get it, get it together, I know” makes you feel like you can accomplish anything in life. My favorite part? The song ends with the line “Don’t ever give up.”¬†https://youtu.be/qfX2DMQUe1Y
  • “O” by Coldplay- Staying on the subject of Coldplay, this song off of their album “Ghost Stories” album is my go-to meditation song. It’s beautiful melody creates a tranquil mood and the lyrics “fly on” are very inspiring.¬†https://youtu.be/Ap-HeMIKi-c
  • “I Am Moana” from Disney’s Moana-¬†If you read my Moana article¬†5 Lessons Learned from Disney‚Äôs Moana, you would know that I LOVE this movie. I find all of the music very inspiring, but this song connects with me personally the most. The words that her grandmother sings to her in the beginning “Sometimes the world seems against you. The journey may leave a scar, but scar’s can heal and reveal just where you are” reminds me of words my Grammy would have said to me if I felt at any point lost or in a hurtful place. I think everyone can take this message home with them: scars are marks of survival. When Moana is asked who she is, she suddenly comes to terms with her background, who raised her, what she has done, and how far she has come. This encourages her to keep going. And that she does.¬†https://youtu.be/e2Lm1-W0jow

So these are just a few of the songs that motivate me to keep doing me. I hope this playlist gives you some inspiration throughout your day as well, or has inspired you to create a playlist of your own choices. Already have a playlist? Comment below your suggestions.

Keep going, keep growing.


Looking Over the Edge of the Roof: My First Blog Workshop

1 TIMOTHY 4:12

‚ÄúDon‚Äôt let anyone look down on your because you are young. Instead, set an example for the believers through your speech, behavior, love, faith and purity.‚ÄĚ

When I created this blog, I had one motive: to help others through my own words and experiences. I reflected on the four years of high school that I spent tackling my anxiety and asked myself “What or who did I need back then that could’ve really helped me?” Then one of the best pieces of advice I have ever read (Thanks Pinterest) popped in my head “Be someone you needed when you were younger.” The next thing I knew, my journal was out and I was writing my first post for this blog. She Doesn’t Know She Has It¬†was originally going to be a book. I wanted to write about a fictional teen trying to cope with having anxiety in high school. But the problem with books is, they have an ending. My story with anxiety hasn’t ended yet. With this blog, I can continue to post advice and experiences and growth.

The goal of this blog is for my readers to have somewhere to go to when they need help or even for just entertainment. I cannot physically be there for everyone, although I wish I could, but in writing, people all over the world can read my posts. However, I was blessed this past weekend to have the opportunity to physically be there for others. My former pastor read my blog and reached out to me to run a workshop called “Looking Over the Edge of the Roof: How to Handle with Anxiety” at the Merrimack Valley Catholic Youth Conference. I willingly accepted the offer.

I had a mix of fear and excitement with this challenge. I feared how I would go about running the workshop. Public speaking was nerve wracking for me, but I hoped with God’s help, I would be able to deliver a speech that would hit the hearts of the conference attendees. I was also grateful for my sister Ashley who immediately agreed to help me. The excitement that comes with sharing my blog and helping others and the support of my sister is what motivated me to take on this challenge.


Ashley Jasmin tells students about her anxiety-relieving activity.

I am super pleased and blessed about the outcome of this conference. Within five minutes, the room was filled with students of all ages ranging from eighth grade to seniors in high school. I was nervous throughout my speech but whenever I looked up, I received a reassuring smile from each student, which was more than enough encouragement to go on. Ashley shared some advice of her own, for anxiety runs in the family, and she put together an activity where each student wrote down on a piece of paper what makes them anxious and then they crumbled the paper and threw it away. After my talk and Ashley’s activity, the teens were allowed time to just chat and ask questions. There were smiles, there were laughs, and there was a ever-present feeling of peace in the room. I left the conference and my heart was touched; I can only hope that others left with the same feeling.


Hayley delivers her speech to the students at the Merrimack Valley Catholic Youth Conference.


My AMAZING workshop attendees who willingly took a picture for this post. 

Shout out to my workshop attendees ‚̧


It was Epic: Farewell to The Vampire Diaries

Parting with the CW’s The Vampire Diaries was like parting with a friend. I mean, this is a slight exaggeration, but I owe a lot to the show. It was one of my first fandoms. The show also got me interested in the book series that the show was based off and by sixth grade, I was fully engaged in reading young adult novels. The Vampire Diaries was a part of me from middle school to college, it inspired my fashion choices, inspired my writing, and was always the fantasy world I escaped to to de-stress from reality.

Although I am sad to see the show end, I am grateful and proud for how the series resolved. Julia Plec, one of the show’s writers, said during an interview that when she created the show, she wanted to talk about grief and moving on from a hard place in your life. Elena’s character had lost her parents and is grieving. At this point in her life she meets Stefan, a vampire trying to hold strong to his humanity despite his curse and his past, and she meets Damon, his brother who seems to be beyond saving. Of course, this theme of loss and moving is always present throughout the series, but it truly was resolved this final season, which included several parallels to the first, one of them being the return of old characters, which pleased many fans. The season is themed around Damnation verses Redemption- as Stefan and Damon question on whether or not they can be saved from their curse. But, spoiler alert, everyone finds peace in the end, showing that everyone can be saved. A show with a not-so-happy beginning reached a happy ending.

So in honor of this happy ending, I thoroughly searched social media for any evidence of my fandom and have found several examples of my fandom that I feel other fans can relate to. Enjoy the laughs.


  1. You owned some sort of TVD merchandise and presented it proudly.


    Yup here’s sophomore Hayley wearing her TVD shirt. Photo caption “#faveshow #TheVampireDiaries #Damon.

  2.  As much as you wanted to hate Katherine Pierce, you wanted to have her style.

    Yet another embarrassing photo of me “recreating” Katherine’s hairstyle for my friend’s sweet 16.

    Image result for katherine pierce










3. You felt the need to tell Twitter whenever you cried during an episode.


How could I not? Damon died!! (and came back to life, but that’s besides the point.)

4. You felt strong emotion for either Klaus, Kai, or both.


This was the second time Ashley heard me scream from the other room. The first was when Klaus and Caroline finally got together.

5. Faux Leather jackets are a staple in your closet.


Sophomore Hayley, why the face? Image result for katherine pierce

6. The music on the show gave you the feels and if your favorite artist was featured, the excitement was too much to handle.


This is me not wanting to swear, but wanting to express my excitement at the same time via Twitter.

7. The Salvatore brothers brought your standards in men to a whole new level.


I might’ve named my car Stefan…

Image result for damon salvatore you want a love that consumes you

*cries for an eternity*

Thanks for reading my little trip down TVD memory lane. If you enjoyed this post, comment below if you’d like one for the Pretty Little Liars series finale.

Never Shy from a  Fandom,


My Favorite Five

One of my favorite video series to watch on YouTube is people’s monthly favorites. It’s always so interesting to see what products people recommend, what shows people are watching, or what music people are listening to. I decided to do the same series and, maybe not every month but every few months or so, post five of my favorite products or trends or shows or apps or music I am listening to. Leave a comment below if you want to see more of these posts!

(Cue Julie Andrews) These are a few of my favorite things:

  1. Favorite Makeup Palette: California Dreaming Palette by Lorac.¬†I first saw this eye shadow palette at Kohl’s and thought it was so aesthetically pleasing, I couldn’t pass it up the next time I saw it. At $30 it is a bit of a splurge, but the quality is so worth it. The palette is inspired by California in the late winter/early spring and features soft neutrals and sandy tones, as well as pastels and beachy colors, both in shimmery shades and matte. Lorac’s eye shadows are so pigmented and last the entire day without budging; it’s been my go-to since I purchased it.img_4479
  2. Favorite Nail Color: OPI’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s Collection in “Apartment for Two.”¬†My favorite color from a collection inspired by one of my favorite movies? It was a no brainer that this ended up on my Christmas list. This hot pink was perfect for Valentine’s Day and coincidentally matches one of my favorite lip colors, Covergirl’s Watermelon Twist lip crayon.¬†57e4fd2b-05d2-4b2a-a5dc-fea861794531
  3. Favorite Trend: Monochromatic Makeup. I am a lazy college student with barely any time to do her makeup in the morning. I would always rush around trying to blend multiple eye shadows and do a full face look, until I found the solution (thanks Pinterest). An easy way to save time and look like you put forth your best effort is by applying one color to your eyes, lips, and cheeks. My current favorite is an all-over peach look created by applying Benefit’s “Coralista” blush to my cheeks, Lorac’s eye shadow in “Starfish” to my lids, and matching it with Too Faced Melted Liquid Lipstick in the shade “Chocolate Honey”. It takes little time and looks effortlessly chic.¬†img_4463
  4. Favorite Snack: Smoothie.¬†I always go for chocolate, and starting today, I have given it up for Lent. But recently, I’ve learned how to use a blender and have been making better-for-you smoothies, like this strawberry one. This one is a blend of Chobani Vanilla Greek Yogurt, 4 fresh strawberries, some low-fat milk, and a quarter of a spoon of Stawberry ¬†Whey Protein Powder. This smoothie is packed with protein, under 200 calories, and tastes like a dessert. Yum.4ac5bf74-7238-409d-a439-b92469591652
  5. Favorite TV Show: The Vampire Diaries.¬†For those of you that know me, I have been a die hard Vampire Diaries fan since it began its first season when I was in middle school. Well, I have followed the series all the way through to its current eighth season, and am sad to know the show is ending in a mere two weeks (Prepare for a goodbye post for this show in the near future). As sad as I am to say goodbye, the farewell is bittersweet- bitter because it’s the end, but sweet because the show has really upped its game connecting the last season to the first with several parallels and bringing back older characters from the previous seasons. The story line has always been good but I’m happy to see the creators and writers put the effort in to ensure the show ends with a mic drop. I definitely recommend this for a good binge-watch.img_4445

That’s all of my favorites for the past couple months. I would love to know yours. Leave a comment below of some of your favorite things and let me know if you’d like to see more of these posts!

Have a lovely night,


Where Have I Been?

With my last article, I had made a resolution to post more and more on this blog, but I think it is safe to say I hit a slump. With the excitement of the New Year came the stress of a new semester of school. I realized that switching to new classes after a month long break was not an easy adjustment for me. My classes have heavier workloads and focus more on class participation which is good because it pushes me out of my comfort zone, but for a while this discomfort led to much anxiety for me.

So the past month I have been focusing my energy on, well, sorting out the nervous energy and replacing it with excitement. It’s a day-to-day process, but rather than fearing change, I’m striving to look at it as embracing the new. So far, this strategy is working out for me and I have settled into my classes.

In my absence, I have kept up two of my resolutions. My workout routine is still going strong. I strive to work out a minimum of three days a week. Pinterest is yet again my hero for always having different workout ideas for the days I want to spice up my routine. I have also auditioned and joined another production as I had planned to. However, this one holds a special place in my heart because all of the hard work and passion behind my performance is going towards a good cause. I am a proud member of Voices of Hope Boston- a group that raises funds and awareness for cancer through theatrical performance and music. I have always dedicated each and every one of my performances to my Grammy, who passed away in 2012 after a long battle with cancer. Now, this performance helps people just like her. I am blessed to have this opportunity. On a similar note, I have also had the chance to record music with my collegiate a capella group, Vocality, which was another unreal experience shared with another group of amazing people.

And that’s where I was during my “slump” of no posts. But with every sink, there’s a rise. After a winter of severe writer’s block will come a spring of new ideas. I will be posting a lot more this spring. This post was mainly to explain why I was not posting and to promise that I have no given up on this project.

The sun is shining, it’s a new day, and another step on our journey.¬†


Picture Taken by Tyesin Jasmin


See you soon!



365 New Days, 365 New Chances

Today, I gave the fifth grader I tutor an assignment: to write down three things he wanted to happen in the new year. His answers were “to start a new YouTube account because the other one was hacked, make my fort better, and make my Pokemon collection bigger”- all very important goals for a fifth grader. This made me think, everyone, young and old, wishes for some sort of change in the New Year.

This also made me reflect on 2016 itself and think about how many people I have seen on Twitter saying “good riddens 2016”, “2016 was a nightmare “, etc. I can relate; some years are better than others, but this is the wonder of having a New Year. On the 365th day of the year, you can reflect on what goals you accomplished and the memories you experienced, both good and bad, and then you can come up with new goals to work toward and new memories to create. Even if the year wasn’t your best, you made it through to the end, and on midnight itlifestyleis a fresh slate. Tomorrow marks 365 new days, 365 new chances.

Tonight I reflect on what I accomplished this past year and the memories I’ve made, and I invite you to do the same for yourself. Celebrate the impact you’ve made on this world this year just by being here. 2016 was a year of milestones for me. I got my first lead role in a musical, I graduated high school among an amazing group of friends, I had the second annual race in memory of my grandfather, I got into college, began vocal lessons, was part of my first musical production outside of school, began this blog, started and completed my first semester of college, and got into an a capella group at school. Of course there were many downs to this year, every year comes with failed auditions, heartbreak, losses, and struggles, but I made it. If you’re reading this, you made it. And just making it through a year is a blessing alone.

Tomorrow I will start towards new goals.

  • Tomorrow my family together is starting to eat healthier. We will support each other in trying to not eat out as much and eat more fruit and vegetables and less junk food. We will be referring to this healthy eating grocery list for our trips to the supermarket.¬†http://collegelifestyles.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/grocery.jpg¬†.
  • I will continue to do yoga as I mentioned in my post¬†Breathing&Believing¬†; I feel yoga has definitely helped me cope with my anxiety as well as feel more confident and at ease.
  • However, I want to take part in more physical activity to build muscle and tone up. I have found a slow and steady fitness plan to train to run a 5K race that I am striving to follow through with this year. This fitness plan is good for beginning runners and includes days for cross training and yoga ¬†http://pin.it/UeZD96c.
  • I will continue this blog and add more posts AND pictures thanks to my new lovely photographer: Janjira Sun.
  • I will take part in new productions and audition, audition, audition!
  • I will organize and plan the 3rd annual race for my grandfather and put in the effort and hard work it deserves.
  • I will balance work with school and make sure to study extra hard for my courses.
  • I will continue to write and complete the projects I have been planning and working on this past year.
  • I will save money and work to be more frugal.

Goals I recommend all of us have:

  • Strive for happiness, not perfection.
  • Leave the past behind. (Be like Elsa, just let it go.)
  • Focus on the future, but live in the now.
  • Don’t take anything personally. There’s almost always an underlying reason why someone behaves the way they do. It’s almost never because of you.
  • Take chances that you know you’ll regret if you don’t.
  • In your decisions and with how you treat others and yourself, be the person you needed when you were younger.

And remember, at the end of the year you may not have achieved all of these things. In your day-by-day journey, you could have gotten off track, and that’s okay. This is the beauty of a year: there’s always a new one. So pop the champagne (or sparkling cider) , say goodbye to 2016. Say cheers and, with a click of a glass, welcome 2017.

Have a wonderful new year,


Ease into the Holiday Spirit

Fa La La La La! It’s that time of year once again. I always feel like after Halloween, Thanksgiving creeps up on us and then Christmas swoops in. I also notice that, as a student, preparation for finals and big papers collides with prepping for the big holiday. It can be so difficult to really find the time to feel and appreciate the Holiday spirit.

It seems every year now I find myself asking the famous question: Where are you Christmas?  I wish nothing more to be young again around the holidays: dreaming of sugar plum fairies, watching Christmas specials, tracking Santa, believing in holiday magic. So this year, I made a decision: to find balance between wrapping up classes and wrapping gifts. I am writing this post specifically for people like me who need to find simple ways to ease into the holiday spirit.

Hayley’s Holiday Guide:

Step 1: Play those Christmas tunes.¬†I know in the Jasmin house, Christmas music starts playing November 1st, right after Halloween. I also realize that might be, to spare my mother’s feelings, “a little” extreme. But, as soon as you are ready to embrace the holiday season, blast those holiday tracks. Buddy the Elf says it best:raw.gif

Step 2: See at least 1 Holiday Concert.¬†It feels weird not participating in my high school’s Christmas concert this year since I’ve graduated. That used to be my way of getting into the holiday spirit. However, I will be going to the concert. To save money, check local schools and universities for holiday concerts. There’s a good chance at least one school will have one, and by attending you’re also benefiting the school’s music program. This year, my aunt kindly brought me to see the Trans Siberian Orchestra’s Christmas concert. I highly recommend it to anyone. This group puts on an amazing show and all of their songs go along with a Christmas story being recited by a narrator.


TSO performing at the DCU Center in Worcester. Photo by Nicolle Wood

Step 3: Go to a Festival of Trees.¬†I don’t know how common these events are outside New England, but a few local towns in my area hold a Festival of Trees.Donors from multiple organizations create their own decorated Christmas trees, which are works of art, and people can enter a raffle to win one of them. With festive background music and aisles upon aisles of these beautifully crafted trees, this event is sure to get you pumped up on Christmas spirit.


Step 4: Drink Hot Cocoa and Watch Holiday Movies.¬†I know we are all dreaming of watching¬†White Christmas¬†with a mug of hot chocolate and a warm fireplace. Study hard for finals and reward yourself with this holiday treat. Don’t know what to watch? Here’s Freeform’s 25 Days of Christmas official schedule:¬†https://www.25daysofchristmastv.com/schedule. (ps. This is great to do with friends and family.)


Step 5: Give, give, give.¬†It’s so easy to get lost in the commercialism of the holiday season. Thanksgiving wasn’t even over yet and it was already Black Friday! I love Christmas shopping, whether it’s online or in stores. I love buying for my friends and family. However, each year I try to give to someone who isn’t as fortunate as I am around the holidays. My family always participates in “The Giving Tree” at my parish where anyone can take an ornament with the name of an item someone in need is asking for and buy the item and return it to the parish. Someone from the parish then brings the gifts to those in need of them. I have also participated in a toy drive in the past. Toys for tots bins are set up in several places locally or you can visit their website for more information. This year my campus had Sun Santa banks set up at the register to our school’s market. I placed change in their whenever I bought something. You can also donate to any local charities this season.

Step 6: Take holiday pictures. This year I decided to take on an Instagram Countdown to Christmas challenge. Each day is an assigned photo that you must post, all with different holiday themes. Below is the challenge I am taking part in. See my December in photos on my Instagram: @hayley_jasmin (Tip: Get your friends and family involved too!)

Step 7: Find a Christmas/Holiday Read!¬†I have finally finished all of my final paper assignments and have read all of the books and sources I needed to complete these papers. Now, I can start my traditional Christmas read. Every year, I try to find a holiday book to read before Christmas. Last year, I read the Christmas class, Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.¬†This year I am reading John Green’s Let It Snow.¬†Another author to check out is Richard Paul Evans. He has multiple Christmas novels like¬†The Christmas Box.


Step 9: Go Ice Skating. This is just a fun winter activity in general, so feel free to do this after Christmas. Or you can be like my family and buy a refillable ice skating rink on Amazon. Stay tuned for footage of our first experience with that.

Step 10: Remember the Reason for the Season. For anyone religious, Christmas Eve Mass is a great way to truly celebrate the season. I have also been following a December Bible Quote Challenge I found on Pinterest that has helped me engage in the Advent season. img_4071


I think Linus says it best. ūüôā

For anyone who is not religious, connect to the holiday season with a grateful heart. This yoga practice from Yoga by Adriene is a great way to get some exercise and allow yourself to just breathe and be thankful. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0pbuvhbg7po

So wrap up those finals, wrap up some gifts and ease your way into holiday magic!

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!