5 Lessons Learned from Disney’s Moana

Maybe I’m biased as a die-hard Disney fan, but I think some of life’s most important values are taught in Disney films. Disney movies have a way of engaging our hearts and souls through their music, characters, and story lines. They truly are magical.

My mother felt that there was no better way to spend the day before Thanksgiving than at the movies with her children and friends to see the newest Disney release: Moana. Now, I had heard only three things about the Moana movie prior to seeing it: Moana was an island girl, Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson played a demi-god; and Lin Manuel Miranda did the music and lyrics. Being a huge Hamilton and In the Heights fan, that was a deal breaker.

And boy, was I not disappointed. Through its incredibly catchy songs, vivid animation, and heart-warming story line with the perfect dose of humor, Moana is a movie to see. I would recommend it to anyone who loves a good Disney film. But what impressed me the most about Moana, is how inspiring it is to its viewers, young and old.

Here are some lessons you can take home from Disney’s Moana:

  1. The value of having a close relative: This lesson hit me the hardest. I think anyone can relate to having a special relative or role model in their life that they go to to guide them in life. Moana’s bond with her grandmother reminded me a lot of my bond with my own grandmother. Moana’s grandmother guides her in following her heart and taking chances. Without spoiling the film, I can tell you that her grandmother’s advice plays an important role in the story.
  2. Your heart calls you to where you’re supposed to be: Anyone can relate to that feeling that you belong somewhere else. It’s a common theme in Disney movies; think Tarzan’s quote “I just know there’s something bigger out there” or Tangled “when will my life begin?” For Moana, she feels a longing to travel outside her island but her father’s teachings hold her back. It’s only with the advice of her grandmother that she finally takes a chance in finding where she truly belongs. She chooses her heart over her mind.
  3. You are the reason you are who you are: I really enjoyed the Rock’s performance in this movie. His character Maui is a demi god who claims “he is nothing without his hook”- his magical fish hook that gives him transforming powers. Moana tells him “maybe someone saw you were worth saving” but that no hook or powers made him Maui- he became a hero all on his own.
  4. Everyone has a purpose in life that is not to be questioned: Moana finds herself chosen by the sea to complete an adventure, but spends the movie not knowing why she was chosen. She questions her own abilities, her own choices, her purpose in her life. But what she finds is that whenever she feels like giving up, it doesn’t feel right. Deep inside her a force drives her to keep it up, to keep going. I think anyone can take this advice home. You might not know the answer, but you are on this planet for a very special reason. You have a purpose. Keep going.
  5. Music awakens the soul: Now this is something I very personally took home from this movie. As soon as the first song began, I was taken away. The soundtrack to this movie is filled with inspirational lyrics, pleasurable rhythms, and a beautiful island sound. I truly left the theater in chills from many of Lin Manuel Miranda’s creation. He has done it again. I am truly thankful for music.

So my advice for this Thanksgiving break is:

1. Take your friends and family to see Moana.

2. Make sure you save room for dessert.

3. Remember to stay thankful and celebrate Thanksgiving to the fullest before you head to Black Friday sales.

4. Have a blessed holiday weekend!

Lots of love,

Hayley

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The Perks of Being An Anxious Performer

I know, I know. Anyone who suffers from performance anxiety is looking at this title and saying “Hayley you are out of your mind, there are no perks to being an anxious performer.” I often think this way too, but the truth is you can find something good in everything, even your worst moments. Looking through dark moments in a positive light will reflect your own strengths and leave you feeling overall more positive.

I often feel my anxiety holds me back in my performances, especially when panic is at its highest. This can be true. There have been auditions, rehearsals, and performances where my own anxiousness has prevented my from performing to the best of my ability. What I have come to find is, however, that same nervous energy can be channeled to strengthen your performances and make them even better.

So what are the perks of being an anxious performer?

  1. Every performance is a victory over your own fears. Think about it. Every time your nerves build up before a performance to the point they seem unbearable, you choose to go out there anyway. Whether it be playing a sport, singing, dancing, acting, or simply walking into a class, you are challenging your own fears. And once you do it, you’ve already beaten them. Congratulations little warrior, you’ve won!
  2. Every failure only strengthens you. Kelly Clarkson was right everyone, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. That audition you jumbled the words to a song out of your own nervousness? Think back on that when you finish slaying your solo in the school musical. When you were so nervous on the field you scored for the other team? Think back on that when you just score the winning goal at a state championship. You didn’t give up after. That voice in your head that said “You’re passionate about this, keep going” kept you strong.

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    picture taken by Susan Cutelis.

  3. Nervous energy can fuel emotional connection. This one is for my fellow singers, actors, and dancers. A performance can be extremely well done, but when it portrays real emotion it can drive someone to tears. All of that nervous energy can be channeled to create a killer performance. I’ll give you an example. I get super nervous too. In Grease, there was one scene I used to get so nervous about where Rizzo sings “There Are Worst Things I Could Do” to Sandy and Sandy had to stand still on stage and just react. It’s easier to hide my nervous energy when I am moving around, but standing still is a struggle for me on stage. Luckily for me, I found a way out. The song immediately afterward is “Look at Me I’m Sandra Dee Reprise.” The stored nerves inside me actually drove me to tears which I used to sing the songs beginning where lines included “when they criticize and make fun of me can’t they see the tears in my smile.” There I thought of my anxiety and how it held me back and when people saw me and didn’t understand they would just laugh or make fun of my fidgeting and twitching. Then with the last line of the song, “hold your head high, take a deep breath and cry ‘Goodbye to Sandra Dee!'” I released all of the bottled up energy and took a deep breath. I was saying goodbye to the fear and the nerves. And I was thanking them, for giving me emotion and for showing me I’m human.

Light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1:5)

Stay Strong,

Hayley

A Cup of Positivi-tea

I dread waking up some mornings, but I’ve come to find that sometimes the slightest moments can bring positive energy to anyone’s day.

So this morning I woke up an hour and a half earlier than I was planning to and found it nearly impossible to fall back to sleep- my head was already running through the course of my day (breakfast, workout, catch the shuttle to class, go to class, get home, go to work,etc.) I opened social media to find nothing but a turmoil of differing opinions so I closed out of it and opened YouTube hoping to catch up on the latest videos of channels I am subscribed to.

That’s when I stumbled across Rclbeauty101’s latest upload (below) titled “Makeup Stereotypes.” For those of you who don’t know her, Rachel Levin is one of YouTube’s beauty gurus who is infamously known for her creative, comical videos of everything under the sun. I always go to her videos for a good laugh. So seeing this upload, I knew my morning was going to be made better; a good laugh was in store for me. However, what I got was even better.

The video addressed a real issue present in society. Creative expression, in makeup or clothes, is being mistaken for extreme insecurity, promiscuity, or as it is put in the video “asking for it”. “Wow you try so hard” is the response me and many others receive when we simply wear a stylish outfit or feel like wearing makeup. People get interrogated when they aren’t wearing makeup and when they are wearing makeup. Why don’t you add more blush, you’re so pale? Why are you hiding behind all that makeup? Are you going on a date or to the grocery store? etc.  Instead of encouraging people to be themselves and express their own creative genius, we are stomping on their attempts. We need to spread positivity to others.

Rachel once again uploaded a very real and touching video. Another video of hers, uploaded a few months ago, changed my outlook on self-love. It was titled in all caps “I AM UGLY.” Immediately I was curious and what I watched changed my life. I have always felt self-love to be one of the most important struggles of humanity. It’s so hard to accomplish- we are constantly bashing ourselves for little things, finding little flaws, developing several insecurities. It’s so easy to bring yourself down. I know I did and sometimes still do. I remember going home in junior high crying because girls thought I was too nice and therefore too weak: an easy target for bullying. I was mad at my own kindness. Mad at the way I looked. Even in high school and to this day, I’ll get mad at how I look some days or mad at my anxiety, my carelessness.

But Rachel put self love in an entirely new perspective. Her video teaches people to pause before they make a negative comment about themselves and to picture saying this negative comment to your younger self. All of a sudden I was looking back to junior high and picturing how I would feel if I would’ve told my thirteen year old self to stop being myself. I picture telling my five year old self that I’m too much of an anxious mess to perform or that I’m not thin enough or fit enough. Like I said, it’s so much easier to bring yourself down than lift your spirits. It’s often said that a child can one’s perspective on life. Little did I know that child could be my younger self.

Using Rachel’s technique has made self-love a little easier. My hopes are only that sharing this video and her last video will change the way people view others and themselves. Right now it seems everyone is on edge with each other. So much hate is being spread.

Take a sip from a cup of positiv-tea and pass it along. Watch the love pour out.

Goodnight,

Hayley

Loss and Living On

Today, I share with you the essay that helped get me into college. I always believed a good essay should come from the heart in a way that the reader can sense the passion behind your words. So I wrote about losing two of the people that inspired me the most but focused not on loss, but on the importance of living on after loss and letting their memories live on as well. Thanks for reading.

A wise person once said, “Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life.” I don’t think this is ever thought about by anyone who takes that small step forward- that little step that, in time, marks their transition into maturity, into adulthood, into themselves. I think these people go into their projects with a checklist with one blank box next to their goal: to make a difference. At least, that’s how it was for me.
Growing up, I rarely experienced loss. I have this huge, close-knit family and we do
everything together. I had that childhood where grandparents visited daily. My grammy always lived across the street from me, and my pepere lived close enough I’d wake up to see him downstairs sipping coffee. When I started performing in plays and talent shows, my grandparents were always there encouraging me. They were always there for me until they couldn’t be.
That’s what hit me the hardest in high school. I lost both of my heros. My grammy
passed away from cancer the fall of my freshman year, and it truly didn’t sink in until the
following spring when something happened to me. I was sitting watching my older sister
perform in a play when I became restless; I was sweating and struggling to breathe. This episode occurred again when I was singing in my church choir. I looked out at the crowd and thought I was going to pass out. These panic attacks grew worse and began to happen regularly: in the halls, in classes, during more performances. Every day for me was a battle against fear. When my anxiety was at its peak during my sophomore year, I lost my pepere who had cirrhosis from exposure to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. More loss meant more panic. I needed a new way to cope.
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Top: Roger Cote stands before the Vietnam Wall in D.C.. Bottom: Roger Cote’s grave on Veteran’s Day.

I had a family friend whose nephew committed suicide due to PTSD. He was a veteran
and, like my pepere, had died from an illness resulting from war. In many ways I saw myself in my friend’s nephew and the many other veterans living with PTSD. They were suffering episodes of panic similar to that of mine, only worse. I wanted to help them, and a little voice in the back of my mind said maybe helping them could help me. And that is when I came up with the idea for the Roger A. Cote Run for Courage. My aunt and I dreamed of hosting a run or walk in memory of my pepere and the dream became a reality. With the aid of BNS Event Management, we held our first annual 5K race on June 14, 2015.
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A young Roger Cote in his Navy uniform.

The morning of the race, I set up t-shirts and raffle stands and scanned the parking lots.
Could this work? Friends and family came, our dozen volunteers helped out, and the runners began to show- 120 runners surpassed our goal of seventy five. Some said my pepere wouldn’t have wanted anyone to make a big deal out of his passing. “Just honk your horn and wave as you pass by my grave,” he would say. But maybe the truth is, it isn’t so much for him as it is a coping mechanism for my family and me. The money raised would go to Operation Homefront, an organization that financially assisted wounded veterans. We were helping people like my pepere and my friend’s nephew overcome their illnesses. At the same time, I was overcoming mine.
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Roger’s grandchildren and wife Rita at the 2nd Annual Roger A. Cote Run for Courage.

I grabbed the microphone and in a shaky, but strong voice, counted off “READY, SET,-”
and the power behind my words was almost unrecognizable; it was the sound of a familiar voice that had been hidden under panic and fear for so long. In complete control, I took a small step toward the crowd: “GO!”…
…And it was the biggest step of my life. Making a difference? Check.
Happy Birthday Pepere!
Love,
Your Granddaughter

Lobs of Fun: How My Long Bob Made Me More Confident

Hit the wind machine. Allow me to stroll along the hot sands, long hair cascading behind me in luscious ripples. Beautiful.

That’s what I thought was beautiful, and I still think it is, but it does not define beauty.

“Rapunzel, Rapunzel let down your hair.” *No hair falls.*

That’s me and I’m proud of it. I used to think I needed long hair so I grew my hair out for a while and wore it long up until sophomore year. I knew someone who told me he liked my hair long so I kept it long. Yet, time went by and feelings changed to a point I didn’t feel attachment to my long hair anymore. I just wanted change. So I took the scissors and snip!

I actually didn’t take the scissors, my hair stylist did, and I am so glad. I felt so free with my hair short. I felt like a risk-taker. For once, I did something completely for myself. This began a future habit, making decisions for myself. My long bob, or “lob”, made me feel powerful. I didn’t feel like a whole new person, I felt like me.

Some people say finding yourself is becoming someone you never were. For me, I feel it is the complete opposite. Months after my first chop, I added lighter blonde highlights, returning my brown hair to the former dirty blonde it was when I was younger. Since I was a toddler, my hair had above my shoulder and light, I was only returning to the Hayley I once was. I found myself again.

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When I made the decision to cut my hair, I thought of the many short hair stereotypes. I won’t be able to wear it up. Goodbye ponytail! I won’t be able to rock the Ariana Grande half-up, half-down. My natural curls will be way to0 puffy in a shorter ‘do. Bye beautiful braids!

When I cut it, I thought all of this was true, but boy was I wrong. Thanks to Pinterest, I found that anyone with short hair can pull off several hairstyles.

Short Hair Myths Proven Wrong

  1. I won’t be able to wear it up. 
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    Inspired by Lucy Hale, create a deep side part and french braid until you reach the back of your hair. Gather hair into a twist, secure with an elastic and pin with bobby pins.

    2. I won’t be able to rock the half up, half down.

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    Gather hair at the crown of your head and tease with a teasing brush. Then secure the gathered hair into a half pony or half bun. 

    3. My natural hair will be way too puffy when short.

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Add volumizing mousse to damp hair and blow dry with a diffuser. Spritz a sea salt spray and scrunch hair under diffuser until waves dry.

4. Bye bye braids!

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Create a side part and dutch braid your hair and secure small braid with bobby pins.

See? With the short hair, you can have lobs of fun. See what I did there? I’m an embarrassment :).

-Best of Luck,

Hayley

COMMENT BELOW WHAT MAKES YOU FEEL CONFIDENT. I’D LOVE TO HEAR. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Family’s Gift: An Adoption Story

I thought I knew what a family was. I had a mom and a dad, an older sister three years older than me, and a younger sister two years below me. My sisters and I were all born from the same parents in the same hospital and lived and were raised under the same roof. That’s what a family was: people who shared the same blood, had the same parents, and resembled each other.

Flash forward ten years and I’m standing against the hustle and bustle of the Orlando Airport watching people frantically scurrying to security, pulling their luggage onto the moving ramps, and stressing over flight cancellations. In the midst of it all, I see a woman holding a “welcome home” poster and that alone brings me back ten years. I am my seven-year-old self standing amidst the stress and chaos of the Boston Logan Airport, not letting it affect me in any way. My excitement is at its highest as my sisters and cousins sip IBC root beer, giggling while my grandpa tries to eat crab cakes without his teeth. It didn’t matter that we were tired. It didn’t matter that my extended family took up an entire three large tables at the airport restaurant and told stories too loud while other customers were trying to enjoy their dinner.  All that mattered was I was meeting my new brother today.

A year or two before this day, this wouldn’t have happened, but plans change and things happen. My mother was expecting a fourth child. Our new addition to the family was going to be just like us- a baby boy or girl born from my parents, sharing my blood. Family. But the tide turned and a storm came. My mother had an unfortunate miscarriage that devastated her and our family. We thought that dream of a fourth sibling was lost forever.

Healing time passed and I learned that dream was not unattainable. My parents looked into Wide Horizons, an adoption agency connected with countries all over the globe, and talked about welcoming a baby into our home. After contacting people and searching all over, they finally received word on a three-month-old baby boy from Ethiopia that was put up for adoption by his aunt, after his eighteen-year-old mother left him in her care and ran off. My parents eagerly accepted the offer. His name was Sintayehu. But, I know him as Ty.

After what seemed like light years of waiting and preparing, my mom told my sisters and I that my dad and Uncle Sean were coming home from Ethiopia the next day with the now six month-old baby. My seven year old self immediately scurried over to our PC with a piece of blank white paper and a box of crayolas. I searched “Ethiopian flag” on Google and began my masterpiece. It would hang next to our “Welcome Home” banner in our living room, right next to the American flag: our two worlds collided.

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Ty and I on Christmas Eve in 2015.

Ty still has my crayon Ethiopian flag, my welcome home present. He keeps it in one of the three drawers under his big trundle bed in his room, along with his birth certificate, his Baptism candle, and the Ethiopian outfit he wore when he met my father. When he was still small enough, he’d put the outfit on sometimes and excitedly show us all. Ty holds pride in his story. Even as a toddler who didn’t truly understand, Ty never held back from sharing his background. My mother would push him in a grocery cart and if someone complimented him or started conversation, he’d reply, “I’m from Ethiopia” with a beaming smile.

That beaming smile brought a whole new element to our family. We had brought home this tiny little baby with a huge personality. As he grew older, more and more characteristics of his personality began to show. Ty was happy. He had this huge smile that brought dimples to his cheeks and started a chain reaction of smiles throughout our house. He was very smart. He could hold conversation with anyone and was able to absorb facts like no one else I knew. One morning I woke up and Ty recited an entire infomercial to me he had just seen that morning. Ty was gentle and kind. Most boys in our family had gone through a tough stage where they would push, shove, or punch everyone around, but Ty never did. He didn’t push or shove. If anything, he just used his words. Ty was funny. He’d walk around the house wearing costumes and his dancing alone could bring tears of laughter into one’s eyes. Even a dim-lit room would shine bright when Ty walked in.

I never thought I needed a brother. I thought I could get along just having my sisters around, and maybe I could. But there is something so different in a brother-sister relationship. I was blessed with my grandmother’s patience, which allowed me to see beyond a young boy’s irritable habits and immense amounts of energy, and see Ty for his heart, mind, and intentions. Ty showed me a whole new perspective on life through his own lense. He had the ability to bring my mind at rest, especially in moments I needed it the most. Throughout high school, I struggled with anxiety, which interfered with my ability to sing and perform on stage in musicals, plays, or choirs. When the going got tough, I looked in the crowd and saw Ty’s wide eyes and familiar smile staring back at me whispering “go on Hayley”. I’d roll my shoulders back, stand up straight and tall, and perform because my little brother, our family’s gift, was out there watching me, so I could get through it.

Ty’s adoption brought some conflict. My mom would push her African American son around in a stroller and receive cold stares and grimaces from some onlookers. For them, even in the twenty-first century, it seemed odd to have a child of a different race in your family. However, for my family, these cold stares brought laughter. It was hard for us to picture our lives without Ty. I didn’t wake up every morning and think “this is my non-biological brother.” Ty was my family. I often forgot we came from different blood. He fit so well in our family’s jigsaw puzzle that he had completed after so many years.

When the flight arrival time approached us, I remember eagerly rushing towards the gates with all of my family, holding the welcome home sign. I could barely see through the crowd of people gathered around us, but in the corner of my eye I could catch a glimpse of my Uncle Sean, sweaty and exhausted after a long flight from Ethiopia. But where was my dad and the new baby? Just as I thought that they had gotten lost, I saw my own exhausted, pale, and thin father carrying this little bundle of joy in his arms towards us. My mom hurried up to him and he placed the baby in her arms and, with a tear-filled smile, she said hello to Tyesin. My sisters and I surrounded the new baby. I grabbed his hand and saw his smile light up my world for the first time.

“Do we really get to keep him?” I repeated for about the eighth time since I saw him. As I said before, I thought I knew what a family was. But in the peace of the car ride home from Logan Airport in June 2005, I felt what a family truly is. A family isn’t connected by a blood line. It’s not sharing the same physical characteristics or even the same biological parents. A family is when you’re driving in a car, heading for home, in the quiet of a summer night and you can hear each person in the vehicle’s heart matching rhythm and the tiny bundle in the car seat next to you becomes, no longer a person, but a gift. Then in the heat of the summer air and the smell of the streets you feel something fill an absence you never knew existed. That “something” is completeness.

I flash ahead. I’m in the now. Our plane home from Orlando has just arrived and we’re beginning to board step by step, little by little. Ty takes his seat next to me, my life coach through my fear of flying. He squeezes my hand “Hayley, we are going to get through this.” He smiles at me. My brother smiles at me and I smile back. Do we really get to keep him?

Establishing Your Mantra

Right now as I sit in my desk chair dreaming of ice cream and feeling self-defeated, I am realizing that I have two options. I can drown my sorrows in ice cream or I can motivate myself to keep going. I can do this! I’m Hayley Jasmin and I am fabulous.

My sister and I just took a trial tap dancing class. We were very excited to put our dancing shoes back on after nearly ten years has passed since we last took lessons. However, the class we are taking is at an advanced level and, having only taken a little bit of tap, we found ourselves very behind. In fact, we walked out of the studio after the class was over with tear filled eyes.

There are many times like this. Times where it seems like the better option is to just give up. The better option seems to tear yourself down rather than boost yourself back up. But this is not the way to go. Because when I saw myself telling myself that I could never catch up on tap dancing, I thought about the time I told myself I would never be able to handle my anxiety. Or that I would never be able to perform on stage. Or that I would never be able to find myself. To become the it girl.

Rather than destroying yourself over defeat. Let it encourage you. And build yourself back up. It can be as simple as establishing a mantra. When you are down, pick yourself back up by saying “I can do this.” Or “I am beautiful”. “I am strong.” “I can do anything I dream of.” “I am fabulous.”

One of my best friends uses a mantra, a quote from her inspiration, Sierra Boggess, before each and every one of her performances. Sierra says “You are enough. Your are so enough. It is unbelievable how enough you are.” So before you let defeat or failure destroy you, remind yourself about how great you are just being you. No one is more you than you are. And that’s perfect. That is enough.

I don’t need to be the best tap dancer right away; I can get there at my own pace and with my own perseverance. All I need is to encourage myself, trust myself, love myself. Be proud of myself. No one is more me than me.

Don’t drown in your sorrows, float above them.

Be you.

Hayley

Beauty Products I’m “Falling” For

It’s still been a bit on the warm side, but I can just taste the warm apple cider doughnuts around the corner. No, I literally can taste them, I caved and bought a bag as soon as I saw them at a local farm stand. But the nights have been cooler, the days slowly shorter, and I am cautiously beginning to pull out my sweaters. The summer’s been fun but I’m ready for a change.

But with the temperature stubbornly staying on the high side, I decided my transition from summer to fall will have to begin with the beauty products I am using. My routine consists of warming up the face to keep the “summer glow” alive during the cooler months.

Here are some of the products I am totally “falling” for this season:

Eyes: For my eye shadow, I use my go-to base, Maybelline’s Color Tattoo in Barely Branded, and apply it all over my lid. Then I dip a crease brush into MAC’s Mythology and work that into my crease and smudge some below my lower lash line. Then I finish with mascara. Mythology’s shimmery copper shade matches fall’s trendy neutrals while also warming up an eye look.

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MAC “Mythology”

Face: I can’t seem to steer away from the summer’s highlighting trend. I take highlighting into the fall by using my favorite bronzer and blush duo. I apply Benefit’s Hoola Bronzer to the hollows of my cheeks and contour, brushing upwards towards my temple, and warm up the rest of my face by applying some to my nose, my forehead, and my jaw line. I then use Benefit’s Coralista blush and apply that to my cheekbones brushing upwards to meet the bronzer. Hoola does the job of warming my face up, while Coralista applies a natural flush with a shimmery highlight. No additional highlight needed!

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Benefit’s Hoola Bronzer and Coralista Blush

Lips: Once upon a time a girl named Hayley was scrolling through Pinterest and came across the most gorgeous neutral lip color by NYX and dreamed of buying it but couldn’t find it in store. Then one day she walked into CVS and bam! She bought it and they lived happily ever after. Okay, that was dramatic, but I’ve been dying to buy NYX’s Liquid Suede Lipstick in Sandstorm and I finally did. The color seems to match any skin tone. It’s a very dark, warm-toned nude with a matte finish, perfect for fall and everyday use.

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In shade “Sandstorm”

Nails: My go-to fall and winter nail color is always darker shades, especially deep plums and purples like I am wearing now. My apologies for my chipped mani. My hands got dirty tearing apart my old bed and replacing it with a newer one.

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Revlon Colorstay Gel-like Polish in “Bold Sangria”

Body: When it comes to the fall, I am a Bath and Body Works hoarder. I cannot get enough of the smell of baking cookies, spiced apple cider, leaves, and pumpkin. My wallet just cannot keep up with the amount of candles and body sprays I want. Out of luck, I came across one of the scents I purchased last year and have received many compliments. Bath and Body Work’s Marshmallow Pumpkin Latte smells sweet, sugary, and has the perfect balance of pumpkin and the vanilla-y scent of marshmallows. Perfect fall fragrance.

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I hope all of you enjoy my first beauty-related post on this blog and start “falling” for these products, too. For my regular and newer readers, stay tuned for a new post every Wednesday, from Beauty to Fashion to Lifestyle to Anxiety Coaching, each post will bring something new to the table.

Don’t forget to “Fall” in love with yourself,

Hayley

 

Breathing&Believing

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You believe in yourself. And the biggest step in this process is accepting your anxiety and welcoming it.

The first time it happened, I thought I was dying. I was in the audience of a high school musical, watching my sister perform and something didn’t feel right. I began to sweat and fidget, my stomach felt uneasy, my breathing came short- I was restless. This is where I die.

But it wasn’t death, it was worse. With panic disorder, your body is alive, but your mind is dying. It’s a rush of adrenaline that your body can’t keep up with, so you panic and are restless. Your heart beats fast, your breathing falls short, and you feel as though everyone is watching you. Eyes are on me. What if they notice? I’m a joke. I’ll have no friends. No one will understand. These thoughts all flowed through my mind during an attack. I thought I was alone.

Now I’ve come to notice that attacks aren’t apparent, but if you look closely enough, you will realize you are not alone. Anxiety is a common occurrence in teenagers, young adults, even adults. If you ever feel as though you are alone, look for the “fidgeters”- the ones who are tapping their feet, playing with their hair, looking around the room, seeking an end to their restless mind and body. Those are your companions. You are not alone.

I still panic. I do. It’s not something that just disappears. I’ve just developed ways to prevent the attacks from lasting longer than usual or to stop the attack all together before it occurs. I like to call my strategy “Breathing and Believing”. Here’s how it’s done.

Breathing: Your symptoms of panic are rising. You start to feel restless. Your vision goes blurry and your breath comes short. Control your breathing. It’s easier said than done, it’s true, but you can control it. Take a deep breath in, hold it, and exhale. Repeat about ten times, taking ten deep breaths, slowly exhaling. If this doesn’t work, try a method of breathing I picked up from a yoga video. Take your index finger and pinch one side of your nose. Breath in through the opposite nostril, uncover the other nostril, and exhale through the newly uncovered nostril. Repeat with opposite side. Do this ten times, alternating each side each time. You should begin to regain control of your breath and feel more empowered.

Believing: What do you do when all of those thoughts are rushing through your head, as I mentioned earlier? You believe in yourself. And the biggest step in this process is accepting your anxiety and welcoming it. Think about it, has your panic ever actually killed you? No. And it most likely won’t. Most of the time, an attack reaches its peak and then slowly fades away and you’re left worn out from the adrenaline rush. So, number one, accept that it won’t kill you. When the symptoms start acting up, say “I am in control.” That’s when you try to regulate your breathing. If you start fidgeting and feeling restless, welcome the nervous energy. So, number two, try to expel all of that anxious energy in another way, like bopping your knee up and down or silently counting your fingers to yourself. It sounds a bit crazy, but counting causes you to focus and when you’re focusing, your mind becomes more organized and less anxious. If you’re a religious person or a fan of yoga, meditating helps you reach this sense of self belief and will help you to relax more quickly. If you can figure out how to reach your balance, your level of calm, then it will become easier and easier to limit your panic and carry out your day.

So when the room is spinning and your head is racing

  1. Breathe.
  2. Believe. and
  3. You will achieve.

You are free. You are lifted. Go fly.

~Best of Luck

Hayley

If you have any questions or comments, or any strategies you personally use, feel free to comment below or email me at hayleyjasmin@gmail.com.