New blog!

Hello followers & happy 2014 🙂

One of my goals for the year is to get back to blogging! Making it happen a few times a week. So with that being said- I have a new blog site.

those20-somethings.blogspot.com

I hope you all continue to follow my journeys!

Thanks for your support.

Peace. Love. Blog.

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Fall Favorites

Who doesn’t love fall? It’s that time of year when the temperatures are starting to get cooler and the nights come a bit earlier. There are so many great things about this season I thought I would share my favorites!

1. Changing Leaves : I absolutely love being able to go on drives or walks outside and witness the leaves changing colors! I have a slight serious obsession with red leaves.

2. Cold Mornings & Cool Nights: I love being able to sleep comfortably at night because it’s cold outside! Also what is better than snuggling on the couch under a mound of blankets, sipping on your pumpkin spice latte?

3. Fall Flavors: pumpkin, cinnamon, spice & everything nice! These flavors, I’m convinced, make everything better.

4. FOOTBALL: Football Sundays are one of my very favorite things. I love having an excuse not to leave my couch all day! And of course, root on my favorite teams… GO BEARS!

5. New TV Shows: What’s better than setting up your DVR to catch all the new shows you want to watch. I know for a fact, right now, on my DVR there are about 5 unwatched shows and at least 15 episodes. Not even exaggerating. But again, it gives me an excuse not to leave the couch all weekend.

6. BOOTS: I’m seriously in love with wearing boots ALL fall & winter…. And spring. Until it is 75 degrees out, I will have my boots on. I love that I can wear them with anything & that they are so comfy! And I sometimes, okay all the time, break the “brown-black” rule of fashion. But I can’t help it. I LOVE MY BOOTS!

7. Fashion: Sweaters, jeans, leggings, cardigans, fleece & big comfy sweats… I mean, c’mon, how can anyone love summer clothes more? These clothes are the epitome of fashion and style. You can mix & match… And don’t even get me started on fall accessories.

8. Soups: I have recently learned to really enjoy a good bowl of hearty soup! Manhattan Clam Chowder,
Classic Chicken Noodle, Loaded Potato, Tomato Basil, Chicken & Rice…. This could go on forever.

9. Pumpkins: one of my favorite fall traditions is going to the pumpkin patch, picking out an overly sized and perhaps misshaped pumpkin, and then taking him home and carving the perfect face! I also love painting pumpkins. They make for the perfect
Fall decor in your house!

So I think it’s safe to say I seriously love fall.

Peace. Love. Fall.

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Have a Heart

This is my last post promoting the amazing fundraiser that author, Marc Quaranta, is doing this month. If you go out and buy any of his 3 books on amazon.com, his proceeds go to the Muscular Dystropyh Association! But the catch… Today is the LAST day! So if you’ve ever wanted to help a cause but don’t know how, here is your opportunity!

MDA helps families with people whom are affected by a muscular disease.
Some of the more common forms of MD are Duchenne’s and Becker’s. My cousin was diagnosed with DMD at the age of 2 and at the age of 19 his lost his long battle with this terrible disease. But through it all MDA was there to help. Your donation can help families like mine with the cost of medical bills, flu shots, medical equipment, wheel chairs, & help the cost of sending a kid to MDA summer camp. Also the most important… Funding research, because there is still NO cure for MD!

So please, have a heart on this Monday and help these families fight to find a cure. All you have to do is click this link: http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/s/ref=mw_dp_a_s?k=Marc%20Quaranta and buy one book! Just ONE! But my suggestion is if you are buying one you are probably going to want another (it’s like if you give a mouse a cookie..). So go NOW & give a book a chance & HELP families in need!

Peace. love. HELP & HOPE. FIGHT MD!

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That’s just the way the cookie crumbles.

In the midst of everything else that is going on with life, I’ve been thinking about getting serious about a huge hobby of mine.

For the last year, my boyfriend has told me I should seriously do this.

I LOVE baking. And in the past year, thanks to Marc, I’ve experimented with lots of Gluten Free baking. Besides this being a new “way of life” for some dieters, a lot of people suffer from Celiac.

So my new endeavor I would love to take up? Opening an “online” bakery! I figured so I don’t have a whole lot of customers yet, and don’t want to actually invest in a building (something I would love to do after I retire in 80 years… Kidding)- I thought opening up a “virtual” bakery would be just as good.

I would have a variety of baked goods that could be sold such as muffins, cupcakes, cookies, and scones. And they would be baked to order when the order is placed! They I would doctor them up all cutesy in a shipping package and they would be delivered right to your door!

But now, the serious question… Who is going to order gluten free baked goods online? And how am I gonna get the word out?

Ahh yes, my blogging universe! I’m expecting anyone who reads this to help spread the word about my website (which will be posted, hopefully soon, in another blog). But for now, I just wanted to spark the idea to see what people thought!

So for now…

Peace. Love. Crumbles.

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The Act of Selflessness

Selflessness is forgetting about your wants and needs to help others. I’m sure we can all think of someone who fits this category, but I am going to talk about someone I know who demonstrates this act time and time again.

My boyfriend, Marc is an indie author. He has been published for almost a year. But let me fill you in on a secret: It is not easy being a brand new author. The whole name of the game is branding yourself, marketing, and developing a base of loyal readers. I can say he is a great author, his words flow onto the pages effortlessly, and his stories are so captivating. But this all means nothing, because 1) my opinion is biased and 2) if you don’t read his books you will never know if my statements are true or false.

Now you are probably wondering, how is being an author selfless? New authors don’t make a whole lot of money. It is a seriously rough business. But this guy, decided to give up all of his proceeds for the month of September and donate them to the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

MDA is an organization that helps families who are affected by this terrible muscular disease. Scientists are constantly in labs looking for new cures and trying to develop new medications. Other money that is donated to this organization funds camp fees for MD summer camp, doctor bills, and equipment that families need to live their daily lives.

So now, I ask, how can you not go out and buy a book of Marc’s? How many places can you donate money, and not only getting the satisfaction of helping a charity, but also getting a product in return?

But this isn’t the only act of selflessness Marc has displayed lately. Over the weekend, we took a trip out to North Carolina, as Marc was nominated through his publishing company Twisted Core Press, as “Author of the Year”. The publishers hosted an amazing author retreat, where many of the authors, artists, and publishers came together and chatted about story idea, how to do more marketing, and just got to know each other. How awesome, right?

The weekend was amazing, and we were all looking forward to the awards ceremony and dinner on Saturday night. But Saturday afternoon, I got a call from my mom, saying my Grandpa had been rushed to the ER. He had a bleed in his brain, and they thought he would have to undergo brain surgery. I instantly broke down in the middle of a Wilmington coffee shop. And what did Marc do? He told me he would drive me straight back to Bloomington, IL, so that I could be with my family. The idea of him winning an award meant nothing, as he was just concerned about everything I was going though. Selfless!

I stayed in contact with my family, and they told us to stay in North Carolina, because they doctor’s had decided to put off surgery. After talking to Marc for about an hour, I talked him into staying. And I am so glad we did. Marc WON Author of the Year. Which was an amazing feat for a brand new author. And let me tell you, he had stiff competition. The whole group of TCP authors is amazing! Such talent.

Right after the awards, we drove straight through the night, and I got to Bloomington early the next morning. And I am so excited to say: I WITNESSED A MIRACLE. 24 hours prior to this, I thought I may lose my Grandpa, but by the end of Sunday, he was back to him old self. The doctors said his bleed looks like it is under control and may even go away on it’s own!

I can’t thank Marc enough for being the amazing person that he is. His selfless acts will be rewarded. And YOU can help!

Like I mentioned in the beginning: FOR THE REST OF SEPTEMBER ALL OF HIS PROCEEDS WILL GO TO THE MUSCULAR DYSTROPHY ASSOCIATION! So buy a book & support and amazing charity!

http://www.amazon.com/Marc-Quaranta/e/B00CSCDZXW

Peace. Love. Support.

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Make A Muscle & Read a Book!

As most know September 1st, always kicks off a HUGE fundraising month for Muscular Dystrophy. Every Labor Day weekend used to be the Jerry Lewis Telethon and it would pave the way for great fundraiser efforts for MD across the country. Well it’s almost that time of year again, and there are always so many things to do to donate… And I’m happy to announce that this year, Marc is giving all his proceeds that he gets from books to MD!

If you don’t know, money that is donated goes to fund doctors appointments, wheelchairs, medicines, lab work, camp for kids, and lab research. It is nice to be able to lift some of these costs off the shoulders of families and give them a helping hand.

If you’re wondering why I’m preaching about MD or why Marc is being so supportive- my cousin was diagnosed with Duchennes MD at the age of 2 and died at the age of 19 after his 17 year fight. He was amazing and touched all those hearts who he met. He loved hard rock music and dogs more than anything! My family has been so involved with MD ever since my cousin was diagnosed. And I know it would be a dream to see these doctors come up with some medication or treatment to cure this disease.

So how lucky are you that is reading this blog right now?! The whole month… Yes… WHOLE MONTH of September… When you buy either Abilities 1, Dead Last, OR Abilities 2 which is coming out on SEPTEMBER FIRST… You can help MDA!

So please.. Go here—-> http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/s/ref=is_box_?k=Marc+Quaranta

And buy 1-2 or all 3 of Marc’s books! Once again… ALL proceeds go to MDA for the month of September!!

Thanks.

Peace. Love. Support!

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My golden year.

22. It’s been one of my best years so far. I think I was just as excited to turn 22 as I was when I turned 21. It was my golden year & my favorite number, so I was all about it. But with 23 quickly approaching, I don’t want to leave 22 behind. So I thought I would do a quick recap on some of my favorite “22” moments.

My birthday day was not the greatest. It rained. And I was grouchy. And I spent it at the mall & did not buy a single thing. Travesty!

But the day after was much better. It was spent walking thru Millennium Park and the beautiful streets that occupy the Magnificent Mile. A tour through my beloved Wrigley Field- home of the Chicago Cubs & a ride on the Ferris wheel at Navy Pier! It was a great way to start 22.

September 3- I went to pick out my new puppy, Riggins. Definitely one of the major highlights of my year.

September 18- started dating Marcus. He is the one who helped make 22 what it was. We’ve spent practically every moment of this year together & it’s been great!

October 10- the “I love yous”

Christmas- unlike every other year, this one was perfect because my whole family was together, for maybe one of the last times for a while. My brother would be leaving for the Air Force soon, so that Christmas was extra special.

Feb 4- Marc’s first niece was born & she couldn’t be any more adorable. Now I can’t walk into a store without going through the baby section.

Feb 12- Marc moved in with me, officially. And the stressful search for a new home began.

Feb 14- my first day at CHS. This place has made me realize that I really did miss my calling to be a teacher. It was my first job post-college that I actually enjoyed going to, and loved every minute of.

April 1- Drove home for Easter weekend to hang out with my family before Jake left for San Antonio.

April 5-7- Our trip to Nashville & my FIRST Blackhawks game!

April 19- WE MOVED! Our new apartment is absolutely perfect.

June 8- We spent a wonderful weekend in Muncie celebrating 2 of our friends who got married!

June 17-24- Marc and I spent a week under the Arizona sun at his parent’s house. It was beautiful. We golfed, swam, explored & celebrated Marc’s birthday!

June 29- I had a surprise party for Marc that was perfect. Night with friends and never ending laughter.

July 4- Front Page greatness.

Last but not least my birthday weekend! July 19-22. I couldn’t of asked for a better birthday spent with my family.

This past year was definitely filled with its ups and downs but I wouldn’t change a single thing about it. I’m looking forward to see what exciting things 23 will bring 🙂

A Weekend for the Books

This past weekend was definitely one for the books! In a span of 48 hours Marc and I traveled to Chicago, almost died from heat stroke, came within 150 feet of the Chicago Blackhawks, bowled with friends, went to dinner, and had our friends then scare the crap out of Marc for a surprise birthday bash.

It started at 4am on Friday morning. I am a DIEHARD Blackhawks fan. I love the game of hockey. So when the Chicago Blackhawks won & got to bring Lord Stanley home, I knew I would be at that parade.

Flashback: 3 years ago when they won I was crushed that I couldn’t be attending the madness in Chicago we like to call a “Blackhawks parade”. So I promised myself that of they won again I would be there without even thinking twice.

So Marc, being the amazing boyfriend that he is, woke up early and drove to Chicago. We boarded the redline a little before 7am and made our way downtown. After walking around, we finally found the sea of red.

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We had been trying to come up with a plan all morning of where we wanted to set up camp, but when we saw all of the people we decided we would just make our way to the rally site & stay there. When I saw all of the people…. I thought the chances of getting good seats were next to none. But when the gates opened, Marc looked at me and said “Ready to sprint?” We took off running through Grant Park like a bunch of crazed people running from zombies. But after the longest mile or MORE of life we had reached our destination… && had AWESOME spots!

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But to our dismay, it was only 8:10, people were closing in, the sun was getting hotter, and we still had nearly FOUR hours before the rally even began.

People started passing out, the CFD were taking fans out on stretchers…the heat was getting the best of them. And I was dying of thirst. Thinking you couldn’t take a bag into the rally with you, I had nothing to drink, and the only thing I had in my system was a few sips of coffee & a donut.

Thankfully the CFD pulled off a heroic movement and brought 4 wheelers loaded up with bottled water. It was crazy, but so glad they did this- otherwise I may have been one of those weak fans on a stretcher.

Finally the parade started and we watched it on the big screens from Grant Park. As the minutes literally ticked by, it finally reached 11:30 and anticipation was starting the get the best of us. The players snuck around the back of the stage and roars of cheering and chants fled the rally site.

Here are a few of my favorite moments of the rally:

– Jim Cornelison singing the national anthem

– The voices behind the radio being announced

– Patrick Sharp speaking to the crowd (swoon)

– Corey Crawford getting the belt

– And Chelsea Dagger playing and the entire sea of red singing along

It was amazing day that I can finally check off my bucket list. Thank you Blackhawks for bringing the cup back to Chicago.

Sorry, I rambled, but the rest of the weekend was amazing, too!

Saturday was a whirlwind of activities. We met some friends and went bowling, where I found out I am not as good as I thought I was, and Marc was a lot better than he thought he was. I finally broke 100 on my third game. It was terrible!

Bowling was followed by a belated birthday dinner for Marc at Seasons 52. I told him all day we had to go at 7:30. He had no idea, but I had been planning a surprise party for him. It had been in the works for about 2 weeks, and our friend were set to arrive between 8-830. So I had to make sure Marc was out of the house.

Once we arrived to Seasons 52, we found out that it was packed. When they told us it would be an hour wait, I about fainted, but luckily, after about 30 minutes, we snuck into a bar table. We had been pondering our order while we were waiting, so as soon as we sat down, we were ready to roll. Marc and I literally scarfed down our food in 20 minutes, and were walking out by 9. PERFECT!

I texted my friend to let her know we were on our way. I was so giddy to get Marc home. As he unlocked the door, all of his friends were standing in the dark and screamed “SURPRISE!” Marc about shat himself. He was so surprised, and I think walked around in shock for a solid minute. It turned into a fabulous night with friends, drinks, and laughter….and a trip to Denny’s at 130 am. Classic.

Our weekend started with an early morning trip to Chicago and ended with a lazy day recuperating at home on Sunday. It was the best. And one that I will remember for sure.
Peace. Love. MEMORIES!

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Calling Out the Amazon (BEEEEP) <– Insert bad word

As everyone knows, my boyfriend, Marc writes books. I’ve been very public about my supporting his writing career, as I truly believe he is one of the most talented writers out there. His books honestly do captivate each audience, and when you are done reading them you will want the next book in your hands that very minute. Now, with that being said, I have a little ranting to do.

I put up a review on amazon.com telling people what I thought of Marc’s book. Any type of review is helpful and with my review being HONEST I was thinking it would be of help to anyone who might want to read Dead Last.

A couple weeks after I published my review, I got a comment on it from a “pro creep reviewer”. That’s what I am going to title him. Because from the looks of it, he does nothing but look at amazon all day, commenting on other people posts, creeping other pages, and maybe do a couple reviews.

Here is his exact response to my review.

“Pro-tip: It’s pretty easy to see that you’re associated with Marc, given that
you draw such particular attention to his name and have only ever reviewed two
books: both his, both five stars.”

I said back- Does it really matter if I am associated with him? Does it look like I am a pro reviewer? I have bought 2 books on amazon.com- both of which I have reviewed. And maybe instead of critiquing my review you should buy his book and write one yourself.

If I wanted to really be rude I would have said- Pro Tip: When reviewing a book it is courteous to mention the author. And second, why are you such an ass?

His response to my response back…

“Haylea… While it’s nice that you’re supporting your boyfriend, you really
shouldn’t do it in a baldly duplicitous way. Seriously, it took me five seconds
of googling to find this, on the author’s public Facebook timeline: “The first
draft of Abilities 2: The Chose Sun is complete. Running through round 2 of
edits with Haylea Peters. Hope to have it completed by the end of next week.” 5
December 2012. Sure enough, then, you yourself liked it, and your public profile
has you in a relationship with him.

If you really want to support your boyfriend, you won’t do it in a way that looks so publicly sketchy.”

HI CREEP!

Seriously, I didn’t know it was a crime to support my boyfriend’s accomplishments in a public manner. From now on I will review his books under the name of Sally McStaufferson.

But for those of you who do appreciate my PUBLIC support, go check out Marc’s books, DEAD LAST and ABILITIES on amazon.com. And like my review…IF you find it helpful 🙂

 

Peace. Love. I PUBLICLY SUPPORT DEAD LAST and MY BOYFRIEND/AUTHOR MARC QUARANTA. 🙂

 

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I Scream at My Television…

…When watching sports. Yes. I am THAT girl.

I’ve realized recently how stupid it is when I get so emotionally upset when my team is doing bad. Like, no joke, it really sours my mood. I can go from being in the best mood- like on Christmas morning, to the worst mood- like someone telling me elephants no longer existed.

Since I can remember I’ve been a crazy sports fan- basketball, baseball, football, hockey, soccer- I watch them all. But the only sport I get super upset over is hockey. Oh, and I am a serious BLACKHAWKS fan.

And now this blog is about to go from me screaming at my TV- to all about HAWKey.. sorry.

When my boys are losing, my heart feels like it is exploding inside my chest, like my boyfriend just broke up with me, and there is no ice cream in the freezer.

A couple of nights ago, my dear Hawks weren’t playing the best. Marc walked in the room and just looked at me and said, “Not happy, huh?” That was an understatement. I don’t know if it was the several profane words I was yelling at the TV, or the fact that I had a terrible scowl painted across my face that tipped him off, but either way, he was right… I wasn’t happy.

But thankfully that night, it turned out in favor of my team and I could go to bed happy. But it isn’t always that way.

In the 2 previous seasons, the Blackhawks have lost in the first round of playoffs. In 2010-2011 they lost to the Canucks- Game 7- OT. They came back from being down in the series, and took game 7 into overtime. It was an amazing feat by itself. When they lost, it was pouring down rain, and I just remember thinking, these are God’s tears. No one wanted a Canadian team to advance (haha, kidding). But seriously. I was heartbroken. THEN last year they lost to those damn Coyotes down in Phoenix, with that scraggly haired Raffi Torres. That series I wasn’t too hurt by, because the Hawks had been struck by the injury bug just like every other Chicago team.

But THIS YEAR my friends is going to be a different story. This year, the Chicago Blackhawks have a bit of Stanley in them. It’s the glitter in their eye, the pep in their skate, the gap in their teeth, the determination in their pre-game dance… Okay, I’m done. For real though, this team is going all the way. I’m calling it now.

Sharp looks unbelievable (as always), Shaw is playing out of his mind, Crawford is a monster in goal, and oh hey there Bickell- where the hell did you come from you toothless bast*rd. This team has Lord Stanley written all over them.

So as I sit here, during the between period intermission, taking a break from screaming at my TV, I am praying the my dear Hawks pull this one out and make it 3-0 against the Kings. Marc (a new fan to the game of HAWKey) seems to think this series with the Kings will go 7 games… I think his rookie knowledge of the sport and these teams is making his logic ridiculous. I call 5 games, at MOST. Then, whether the finals is paired up with the Bruins or Penguins, it will be a 6 game series. Intense, nail biter the whole way.

But when that last buzzer sounds, who will be hoisting that big, beautiful cup? I say the HAWKS.

What are your predictions?

Peace. Love. BLACKHAWKS.

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