Friday, January 23, 2015

My Separation

***This post is something that I have been working on for some time. It may be fragmented or disjointed. It may read strange to you. That is okay. I am sharing this personal information with you in hopes that I can be helpful to others who may be in the same position that I have been in and don't know if they can take a huge step forward to improve their lives. This post is in no way an effort to talk badly about D or a cry for empathy. My goal for this post is to share what has been going on in my life as many of you have emailed me and asked me where I have been since I am no longer on Facebook, I have been lackluster at best on Twitter, and I haven't been blogging much at all. Lastly, I feel like this post is the symbolic end to a chapter in my past; specifically in regard to my blog.***

Whenever I find the motivation or strength to write about this aspect of my life, I get side tracked or find myself at a loss for words. How do I articulate the biggest challenge and struggle I have ever had to go through in my life? How can I possibly convey in words what I am feeling about this topic and how unhappy I was for so long? What I am prepared to share with you has taken a lot of self-reflection and months of healing. Now that I am a couple of months into this chapter of my life, talking about it is somewhat therapeutic.

In November 2014, I separated from my husband D. There are many posts throughout Hiya Luv about my relationship with D and our marriage. As Hiya Luv has always been my little place on the internet to share my life, stories, experiences, goals, hopes, dreams, material wants, etc., I thought it was important to share this challenge as it is quite a significant part of my life and I am only a better person because of it.

To be honest I am not sure where things started to go wrong but they did and without even realizing it, I began to pull away. I began to invest my time and energy into other aspects of my life so as to maybe find happiness in other ways or even just escape the turmoil that I was experiencing at home.

I walked away knowing that I gave my all. I tried to work things out. I wanted to fix our marriage. For a long time, I hid that there were even issues. I was ashamed. It took time, reflection, and great friendships to help me realize that I deserved better. I deserved to be happy and that I could be happy if I made changes in my life and took steps to move forward.
I never dreamed of being in this position. For quite some time I even fought the idea. In some ways I felt like I was a failure if I "gave up" on my marriage. A special person in my life was able to point out to me that I wasn't a failure because my marriage didn't work. After hearing that, my perspective totally changed. It comes down to me wanting different things than D. It comes down to me needing to be loved in a way that he could not love me. I don't feel like I gave up. I feel like I grew up. I became stronger in knowing who I am and what I want. I am a different person than I was a few years ago; or even last year...shoot even 2 months ago! I am better. Stronger. Resilient. Confident in what I want for my life. Confident in who I am and in the decisions I am making for myself. I am free. I am happy. I am proud of what I have overcome and am really looking forward to what lies ahead.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Sno-Cap Butterscotch Cookie Recipe

I tend to crave sweets on chilly evenings in the winter. Last night, I was craving cookies and decided to whip up a batch of chocolate chip cookies except I went to my pantry to find that I didn't have any chocolate chips. I did however have less than 1/4 of a cup of butterscotch chips, a box of sno-caps, and a handful of Reese's peanut butter cups. All three are delicious and I thought "why not try them all together in a candy bar cookie?"

My Saturday evening turned into experimenting with cookie dough ingredients. I substituted 1 large egg for 1/4 cup of vegetable oil. I also added cream cheese to the cookie recipe. Lately I have been adding a bit of cream cheese to my cookie dough. It adds flavor and texture to the cookies. The key to the cookie dough recipe that I am about to share, is that you need to let the dough chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before baking. This is very important! If you don't let the dough chill, the dough will spread out and not bake as well.

Candy Bar Cookie Recipe

1/4th block of Philadelphia Cream Cheese (regular, not fat-free or light)
1 stick of unsalted butter
1/4 cup of butterscotch morsels
1 box of Sno-Caps refrigerated
8 Reeses Mini Peanut Butter Cups
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup of vegetable oil (or 1 large egg)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. In a large mixing bowl, beat the softened butter and cream cheese for 1 minute on medium speed until creamy. (I used my Kitchen-Aid mixer with the paddle attachment.) I also put the butter and cream cheese in a small bowl and microwaved it for 30 seconds to soften before mixing them together.
2. Add the brown sugar and granulated sugar and mix on medium speed until light in color and fluffy in texture.

3. Mix in the vegetable oil (or large egg) and vanilla. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
4. In a separate large bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking soda.
5. On low speed, slowly mix in the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients.
6. Put dough to the side. Cut up the Reese's Peanut Butter cups into 4 small pieces.

7. Add the box of sno-caps, butterscotch morsels, and cut up peanut butter cups to the cookie dough. Mix on low speed until combined well with the cookie dough.

8. Using a spoon, scoop out cookie dough and roll into a ball. Place on a plate or cookie sheet.
9. Chill cookie dough for 1 hour minimum and up to 2 days. (Make more than you want to bake? You can freeze the cookie dough for 30 days.) It is mandatory that you chill this dough before baking it.
10. Heat the oven to 350 degrees and bake for 8-9 minutes. The cookies will still be soft but they will set while cooling.

11. Pour a glass of milk and enjoy!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Love in Shoe Form

There are many advantages to working at a university; one of which is getting a generous amount of time off around the holidays. In the past I have spent the week after the holidays in Orlando or Las Vegas with friends or in Ohio with family. This year I had no such plans and thus have had a week off to myself.

At first the idea of a week with no plans felt daunting and I wasn't sure how I was going to fill 168 hours of free time. One can only sleep so much. I spent the first day of my staycation cleaning and doing laundry for most of the day. Meanwhile I brainstormed a list of things that I wanted to do on my week off. Shop, craft for Valentine's Day, hang out with friends, go to the movies, watch football til 1am, and eat lots of delicious food are all things that came to mind.

Sunday evening I put on a cute outfit with my brand new, Tory Burch flats that I've been lusting over for years (view previous posts here, here, and here) and took myself to the movies. I saw the movie WILD with Reese Witherspoon. What a liberating film!

The movie was great but the star of the evening was my Tory Burch flats. The soft leather felt so good against my toes and made me feel like I was walking on clouds.

I kept looking at my feet throughout the movie and smiling at my new shoes. Perhaps I am silly.  Perhaps I am crazy. Perhaps I am in love with my new shoes. If you have a pair of Tory Burch flats, you understand my love affair with these shoes.

If you don't own a pair, you should. Tory Burch flats are love in shoe form. Not to mention they are a classic staple that will go with everything in your closet.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Piyo on the go & Asics Gel-Fit Sana Review

In the past, while traveling for the holidays, I would pack up my running shoes and clothes before packing anything else. I love that about running; you can work out anywhere. After awhile though I realized that although I was running several days a week and my endurance was great, I was weak in many areas such as but limited to upper body strength. Over the past six months, I have made some adjustments, both personally, which I will write about another time, and with my workouts.
I have certainly not stopped running; but I only do so about 2-3 times a week now. When I am not running, I really enjoy doing piyo with Chalene Johnson from the comfort of home. My favorite piyo workouts are Buns, Sweat, or Drench and I prefer to do them in shoes although you certainly do not have to. I find that when I do piyo barefoot, I slip around and lose my stability with some of the moves.
I was thrilled when given the opportunity to try out the Asics Gel-Fit Sana active athletic shoe because I had been looking for a new shoe to wear during piyo workouts. I had been wearing my running shoes but found that I was stretching out my shoes during piyo and not feeling as much support while running.

As described by the Asics America website:

The GEL-Fit Sana™ features a Flexible Fit system with flexible support bands from heel to forefoot, to provide adaptable support in designated areas. Designed with a stretchable mesh upper and MONO-SOCK® upper construction, it gives a sock-like fit and feel that makes for a secured comfortable wear. A smooth inner lining and lightweight, low-profile midsole gives this GEL-Fit Sana™ a barefoot-like sensation and an overall customized fit. Weight: 5.6 oz.
Asics Gel-Fit Sana Specifications along with my thoughts:
*MONO-SOCK® Fit System which is an elastic internal sleeve that replaces a traditional tongue providing a "sock-like" fit. I prefer to wear socks with my shoes because I am afraid I will get blisters. I did find that my favorite athletic socks were a bit snug in these shoes but I was able to work out in comfort. I did notice that the tongue of the shoe was different that my other athletic training shoes in flexibility. The tops of my feet have a tendency to get sore after working out but I was pleasantly surprised that these shoes did not cause soreness and I would attribute that to the Mono-Sock fit system.
*Rearfoot GEL® Cushioning System attenuates shock during impact phase and allows for a smooth transition to midstance. I did notice that these shoes provided support and grip in some of the more challenging piyo moves that running shoes do not. For example, the abduction plank requires strength and balance and it is really helpful to have good gripping shoes so you don't slip.
Fit: I wear a size 7 and find that these shoes fit true to size. However with that said, if you are the kind of person who likes to wear thick athletic socks to work out, I would suggest getting a half size up.
What is your favorite fitness activity?
This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of ASICS.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Enjoy the fall in Daytona Beach, Florida

This post brought to you by Daytona Beach Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. The content and opinions expressed below are that of Hiya Luv.
Fall is my favorite time of the year. I love crisp, cool nights, college football, colorful foliage, apples, pumpkins, and halloween...
Growing up in Columbus, Ohio my family loved enjoying the fall season together. It was a tradition to get together with extended family to enjoy a visit to the pumpkin patch and pick apples. We would take our bounty home and carve our pumpkins while watching Ohio State football, bake pumpkin seeds and if we still had energy we would bake apple pies. My parents did a great job of creating traditions and special moments.
Now that I am no longer living in Ohio near family, it is harder to enjoy fall traditions that I did as a kid. Because I have such fond memories of fall, I have found it important to make my own traditions and special moments. I still enjoy pumpkin carving and baking pumpkin seeds, picking apples and making apple pie, and watching college football and therefore make sure that each fall these activities are included in my weekend plans.
A few years back D and I had the privilege of traveling to Florida to experience a week of fall activities with a few of my girlfriend's that I met while studying in London years ago. We had such a great time exploring the Florida beaches, fall festivals, and outdoor activities that we began to add Florida to our annual travel destinations.
One of my guilty pleasures is watching independant films on the Sundance Channel. A couple of years back while visiting Daytona, I was excited to find out that the Daytona Beach Film Festival showcased many independant films screenings free of charge while featuring food trucks, vendors on the riverfront, and live music. Actors who have been featured in films at the DBFF include but are not limited to Steve Carell and Kiera Knightly.
Over the past few years, D and I have visited Florida during the fall several times and always have a great time. Dave enjoys hanging out at Miller's Ale House and I enjoy shopping at outlet malls and laying out by the pool with a good book. Daytona Beach offers Kid friendly optionsOutdoor Fun, and is the Festival Capital of Florida so there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Whether you like to stick your feet in the sand, shop til you drop, enjoy outdoor activities, or frequent festivals such as the Daytona Beach Film Festival, there is a variety of Free Things to Do in Daytona Beach that will peak your interest.

The beach awaits. Escape to Daytona this fall for a few days and make some fun seasonal memories.
How do you make memories with your family in the fall?
Visit Sponsor's Site

Thursday, October 2, 2014

An Unforgettable Experience with 1110 on the Parkway Medi-Spa

It has been a few days since my visit to 1110 on the Parkway Medi-Spa on the outskirts of Wilmington, DE and I am still on a high from my spa experience. From the moment I walked in the front door I felt relaxed. I was immediately welcomed by spa owner Lauren Michaels and I instantly felt that I was going to not only love the atmosphere but also the staff. 
1110 on the Parkway Medi-Spa staff (from left to right): Dr. Maureen Reardon, Brigette King, Susan Brown, Lauren Michaels, and Lynn Kempski
Lauren immediately offered me a seat in their plush waiting room to fill out paperwork and get acclimated to the spa. I noticed right off the bat that Lauren and her staff were a close-knit group. As we were discussing the variety of services offered at 1110 on the Parkway Medi-Spa, it was clear that the staff works as a team, are respectful of one another, and are there to help one another as well as their clients.
Reception area at 1110 on the Parkway Medi-Spa

What I found different about 1110 on the Parkway Medi-Spa is that they personalize your experience. I have been to many spas such as the Spa Montage in Beverly Hills and the Rock Spa at the Hard Rock All Inclusive Resort in Punta Cana. Although great experiences at the aforementioned, I noticed right away that 1110 on the Parkway provides a level of luxury and pampering that is unique and one that cannot be reproduced easily. 

Rated one of the top spas in Delaware by Reader's Choice, 1110 on the Parkway Medi-Spa provides a calming atmosphere blended with an approachable staff, which created an unforgettable experience. 

What to Expect 
The waiting area off of the lobby is decorated with cool, calming colors, plush furniture and refreshing beverages to enjoy while completing paperwork. The magazines on the table focus on happiness and success. 

Waiting room at 1110 on the Parkway Medi-Spa
After filling out paperwork and learning about the facial I would be experiencing, I was led back to a comfortable room and provided a nice robe to change in to. I changed and laid down on the bed and noticed right away that the linens that are used at this spa are made of high quality fabrics. I really like good linens so I noticed this right away!

Facial room at 1110 on the Parkway Medi-Spa
The Alpha Vital Facial Experience
After a stressful week at work, I scheduled an 
Alpha Vital facial with Brigette. Throughout the facial, Brigette explained the look and feel of my skin and gently gave me tips on how to improve my skin's health. She spoke with me about the importance of moisturizer, sunscreen, and drinking water. I appreciated that she took the time to speak with me about my skin and how I can improve the look and feel of my skin by simply drinking more water, adding sunscreen to my daily routine, and wearing moisturizer regularly. 

I knew my facial was going to be outstanding because Brigette has 17 years of experience under her belt, but I was blown away at how the entire experience felt like an art form. Her fingers and hands gently brushed over my face and neck while applying a variety of products to exfoliate, cleanse, and hydrate my skin. Brigette uses YonKa products from Paris. "Yon-Ka Paris products are natural based. 70% of the line has 90% or higher ingredients of natural origin. Yon-Ka holds itself to strict standards and has been self-regulating our usage of natural ingredients for years. Yon-Ka products are not tested on animals, the safety tests are carried out according to alternative methods." Additional 
products are available such as Nerium AD Age Defying Treatment, Revision Skincare, and Sacred Earth Botanicals. 

I walked out of 1110 on the Parkway with a heightened sense of self-confidence because my skin was glowing, felt clean and refreshed, and I felt relaxed and ready to get back to reality. I did not leave the spa without first booking another appointment for myself and a massage for my husband. The experience was just fantastic. 

If you want an outstanding experience as well as a great 
facial, visit 1110 on the Parkway Medi-Spa and ask for Brigette! Other services that are offered include laser hair removal treatment, waxing, massage therapy, and chiropractic care. Mention this blog post and receive 20% off ! *excluding chiropractic care.

Location! Location! Location! 
1110 on the Parkway Med-Spa is located off of 95 on the outskirts of Wilmington. It is important to note that there is plenty of parking so you will not have to drive around to look for a space on the street! 

Connect with 1110 on the Parkway Medi Spa
Facebook :: Twitter :: Website :: Phone: 302-576-1110

Sunday, September 21, 2014

When in Ann Arbor

Although a torrential downpour and a defeated Michigan Wolverines football team dampened our spirits during our trip to Ann Arbor, we still had an amazing time. This is our second time visiting Ann Arbor and we were welcomed with kindness and great service by everyone we came into contact with. There are many things to do in Ann Arbor and here are a few of our favorites.

1. Tailgate before the game. There are many places that you can tailgate near and far away from campus. People are very friendly and it is not uncommon to walk from tailgate to tailgate making friends. We rented a car just so we could tailgate if we did not find any other tailgate party to attend. To park in a premium location, across the street from the Big House can run you $40 to $50. It was shocking to us that most tailgates took place on the golf course across the street from the stadium. Throwing your cans on the ground is a-ok in the golf course as people come around and pick up the cans to turn in to recycling centers for money. Many restaurants and other companies tailgate in this area too. We were lucky enough to get tickets to the Miller Lite tailgate from the friend's that we made at the Arena the night before. The tailgate included free food and beer, games, and a television to watch the Detroit Tigers game. The History Channel was also in town for the All American Tailgate. Boasting free food, games, and prizes, we did not find much in any of those departments. The free food consisted of a small piece of sausage on a stick that dripped grease. The games included a football toss sponsored by LG where you could win a pair of plastic sunglasses. Hyundai had a booth where you could potentially win a car by filling out a 3 page survey all about yourself. We skipped this...Overall, our tailgate experience was fun and something we would do again.
Hanging out at the Miller Lite Tailgate before the Utah vs. Michigan game. 

Football toss at the LG tent at the Great American Tailgate experience hosted by the History Channel.
2. Good food, drinks, and people
A couple of years ago, D and I visited Ann Arbor for the Ohio State v. Michigan basketball game. We were instantly impressed by the friendliness of Michigan people and we were welcomed the same way on our second visit. D and I visited several sports bars while in town and explored the University of Michigan campus. Our favorites turned out to be the Brown Jug and the Blue Leprechaun with the Arena in a close third. I posted several reviews on Yelp! on places that we visited. Stop by and read what I had to say!

3. Attend a University of Michigan sporting event. 
D and I both love sports and we flew in to town to visit  the area and attend a football game. Although the game ended in a miserable loss to a great Utah Utes team and a horrendous thunderstorm, we still had a great time. Our seats were in the 6th row. Although great seats if everyone was sitting down, it was super hard to see considering most people stood for the entirety of the game. It was difficult to see when people were standing and we wish we would have bought cheaper tickets higher up in the stands so we could see the game.
A view from our seats in row 6

We did get a couple glimpses at a few plays while people were sitting so of course I snapped a few photos. The Big House is a gorgeous facility but when it is packed with over 100,000 screaming fans, it can be a lot to take in. Be prepared to dodge people every step of the way through the stadium and do not be surprised when you are smashed in like sardines while in your seats. Although the close quarters can be a bit overwhelming, there is nothing like a great experience at the Big House.
A view from my sister's seats in the endzone.

D and I will be back to Ann Arbor. The people are overwhelmingly nice and there are many more Michigan breweries and eateries that we need to visit. Not to mention, attending a University of Michigan sporting event is truly a great experience worth reliving every now and then.

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