Saturday, May 7, 2016

Divorce Series Part 1: How I Got the Courage to Leave

Dear Reader,

This post is dedicated to those of you who may want to leave an unhappy marriage but don't know how. You may be dealing with many conflicting and challenging thoughts about leaving and the implications that it may cause you in the short term and long term. I write this post to share my experience with you in hopes that it will help you find that inner strength that has brought you to these crossroads. I realize that there is no one size fits all way to handle separation or divorce but my hope is that by sharing parts of my story and things I have learned in the process, that it will help you on your journey.
I had contemplated leaving for quite some time but always got hung up on the what if's. I was miserable but would mask my sadness in activities outside of the home; running, blogging, social media, selling Thirty-One and Jamberry, working long hours, doing whatever I could to keep busy and focus on things in my life in which I felt I had positive control over. Full disclosure here, I did NOT know this at the time. I learned this all in retrospect and in months of self reflection and therapy.

I can recall so many times that I struggled with even the idea that maybe I should consider leaving. I struggled with the thought of being ashamed, feeling like I had failed, and the suffocating thought of how on earth would I be able to afford to live on my own with all of the bills that I had.

You may not know what you are doing or why. You just may feel that leaving is the right thing to do. That is okay. I found that although I knew I could no longer be in a relationship or married to D, it was still an internal struggle because I felt like I was

1) giving up on my marriage. Being from a divorced family, I had always told myself and others that I did not believe in divorce for myself. I was confident that who I chose to marry would be the only person I would be married to forever. I laugh at this now as this was just a way of trying to convince myself that I was marrying the right person even when my gut was feeling otherwise.

2) going back on my word (aka my vowes). I knew the vowes I had taken at our wedding. I knew that I had agreed to the good, bad, and the ugly. I KNEW what I was getting in to when I got married. So why did I do it? Over and over I told myself that I had made this bed, I need to suck it up and lay in it.

3) Failure. I felt like I had failed my family, myself, my fur kids, the list goes on. My biggest fear in life is failure. The idea of saying I give up and I fail was worse than anything.

Over time my unhappiness began to take over and all I could think about was how to get out and move on with my life. I began to talk to friends and family about my thoughts and I began to realize several things. Over time I finally came to the conclusion that I was strong enough to do this. I realized that leaving required more strength on my part than staying. With support from friends and family, I began to feel empowered and proud of who I was becoming. I was no longer in the shadows of someone else. I was strong enough to take the steps necessary to begin creating a life that I knew that I deserved. A happy life. Even if that meant pain, turmoil, confusion, and lots of healing in the process. 

Life is too short. I did not have to stay in an unhappy marriage when I knew I could be happier by myself. The idea of having my own place was so exciting, yet terrifying. No longer was I spending my mental energy thinking of HOW to get out but rather on all the possibilities of the new life that lie ahead.  The idea of starting a new life where I had a say was the focus of my thoughts and was exhilarating.

I realized that it was my life to live. Not someone else's life to control.
words of wisdom from instagram was a way I found validation for how I was feeling

I realized that there was no point in staying in an unhappy marriage even though I knew that I had ignored the red flags that led me to where I was in the first place. I realized that everyone makes mistakes and I was not a failure for doing so. In fact, I was the opposite. I was strong and resilient for facing these dark feelings and owning up to the truth.
I also found validation through pinterest Check out my board to see more empowering sayings and works of art. 
Are you experiencing the idea of separation? Have you gone through this? Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences in the comment box below or send me an email. 

Stay tuned for the next post in my Divorce Series. Part 2: Independent and Empowered. Yet Alone. Feelings of independence through bouts of loneliness. 

Saturday, April 23, 2016

post divorce plans for Hiya Luv

I have gone through a lot of changes over the past year and a half to two years. I have learned and changed and grown and evolved in so many ways. I feel like I have so much to say and yet don't really know how. I am not sure where to start or what would be of interest to you as a reader. I know, however, that just acting like nothing had happened and that my disappearance was for no reason, would be a lie and I would always feel like there was this elephant in my little corner of the blogosphere. I believe in transparency and that is what you as a reader will always find on my blog.

Long story short---2015 was the most transformative year of my life. It was a year of self-discovery and I am happier than I have ever been before. My happiness came with challenges and finding myself. 

My divorce was final in June 2015 and I have been rebuilding my life post-divorce. I have so much that I want to write about regarding divorce and break-ups in general. I struggle with that though because Hiya Luv wasn't created as a blog where I would come to wallow in despair or be a blog of doom and gloom. Hiya Luv has always been a place where the focus was on bettering oneself whether that be through crafts, fashion, travel, or fitness. Although the topic of divorce can be one of darkness, I hope I can shed some light on a tough path that some of us choose to take.

My life has evolved past my ugly divorce and is more beautiful than ever before. I feel like it is only fair to share with you the learning that took place during the year of 2015 as I am a different, more resilient person than ever before.

To do this, I have created a series of posts that will be released during the month of May. This series is all about my divorce. Once the air has been cleared, I can then begin to focus on the new direction in which I have taken my life and how I am living the best life ever! I hope you will join me on this journey!

Please feel free to drop me a note via email at gina at hiyaluv dot com or in the comments should you want to share your experience as well. I hope to help those of you who may be experiencing the same thing that I went through. 

Thursday, February 25, 2016

How to Prepare for a Trip to Costa Rica

Spring Break is coming up! One of the places I have always wanted to visit is Costa Rica. 

Considering a trip to Costa Rica? This country is not only one of the safest places to visit on vacation, it’s also one of the most beautiful, with magnificent rainforests, white sandy beaches, and tropical waters. Visiting Costa Rica isn’t an easy task as there’s so much to see and do which can be tricky in a short amount of time. Making sure that you put in a lot of preparation before you set off on your trip can help you to make the most out of your time in this stunning area of the globe.

Booking Activities

There are a number of things to do in Costa Rica, from visits to National Parks, viewing the Arenal Volcano from the Observatory, boat trips, surfing expeditions, helicopter tours and zip line adventures. However, the top tours around Manuel Antonio Costa Rica are booked up quickly, so it’s wise to make sure that you’re all booked in in advance before you set off. This will save you time and effort whilst you’re there, leaving you to enjoy your trip and get the most out of your time there.

Choosing Where to Stay

Exploring Costa Rica can take up a lot of time, so it makes sense to stay somewhere central to the areas that you’re planning to visit. San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica, makes an excellent base for exploring the country, and has a range of museums, historical sites and shopping opportunities which you can visit. Manuel Antonio Bay is also an excellent choice of destination for travelers looking for a great base to explore, with stunning accommodation options such as

Health Concerns

When visiting Costa Rica, it’s important to protect your health. Make sure that you are given all of the relevant vaccinations before you set off, and take a first aid kit with creams and mosquito repellent. The heat in Costa Rica can get very intense, and visitors are prone to sun burn or even sun stroke making it essential that you take a range of protective items to shield you from the sun’s harmful UV rays. Sun screen and protective clothing are essential for exploring in Costa Rica.

What to Pack

Because you’re probably going to spend most of your time in Costa Rica wearing a swimsuit, it’s possible to pack lightly even if you’re visiting for a while. If you are planning to spend a lot of time on the Caribbean side or doing a lot of water based activities such as scuba diving or surfing, you should pack at least two swimsuits. If you’re visiting during the rainy season, you will need to pack a rain jacket – a light fold up poncho is usually enough to protect you from the tropical rain storms which can come out of nowhere. Tennis shoes are quite bulky, so pack sandals – athletic sandals work great for activities such as walking through the rain forest.

There are loads of things to do and see in Costa Rica, so make sure you’ve got your trip planned out before you go!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Finding Your Style During the Winter Months

As the days continue to get shorter and the temperature continues to drop, I am quickly notified that winter has made its way back around yet again. And while we all often loathe the freezing months and want to bundle up next to the fireplace indefinitely, I am happy to report that there is a glimmer of light in the darkness of winter.

What can this glimmer of light be? You wonder.

Well, I’m sure you all know by now that I am a shoe addict! So when a new season arrives, of course I have my eye on quite a few new styles as soon as they hit the store shelves. And with winter making its grand, unwelcomed entrance, I’ve been scoping out new boots to get me through the season. That’s right: the glimmer of light I was referring to is a pair of boots. 

Hey, you’ve got to look at the glass half full!

So in honor of the new season and my (low-key) obsession with shoes, I wanted to inspire you to go out and grab a new pair of shoes for the season, too. Many women often find a pair of boots they love and never let go. While this is fine, it doesn’t leave a lot of room for style evolution or the excitement of retail therapy. So, retire those years-old boots and consult this quick and easy guide to finding the perfect pair of boots to suit you. After all, stomping through snow is much more fun when you’re doing it in style.

1. Find Your Height

Are you an avid runner with not-so-small calf muscles? Then consider nixing this season’s popular mid-calf boot trend, which will squeeze your muscles and give you an unsightly leg “muffin-top.” Adversely, if you’ve got slender legs, a midi boot (described in this post) would look lovely on you. 

Another point to consider with height is whether or not you’re looking for a heeled style. Depending on the purpose you envision for your boots, a heel can either be a hindrance or a must-have. If you’re in desperate need of hot night-out boots, look for heels only. If you need new everyday, errand-running shoes, a flat style is your best bet.

2. Find Your Width

Some women have skinny feet whereas others have wide ones—it’s just the way we’re born. For women with wide feet, I love the advice found in this piece: “Look for round or almond-shaped (rather than pointy) toes that offer plenty of room and slim heels for a touch of femininity.”

3. Find Your Style

As is the case with any fashion decision, you should always choose your clothing and accessories based on your own personal style. No matter the trends shown on the runways, no matter what your favorite celebrities are wearing, no matter if I tell you what is and isn’t cool—if it doesn’t fit in with the rest of your wardrobe, you should never feel pressured to purchase it. All kinds of personal styles are described here, with a couple of suggestions: “Keep it classic with riding boots, edgy bikers and shoe boots and work androgynous cool in wear-anywhere flats.” Whatever your personal style is, there is a boot out there made just for you!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Knomo Luggage – Business Bags for Jet-set Professionals

Are you someone who spends a lot of time travelling? If so, you realise how important it is to have a business bag that combines durability with style. Knomo have a range of business bags that cater for the needs of all types of professionals.
Balham Troon Cotton-Twill 13 inch Laptop Satchel

This is a stylish, no-frills bag. It's made from cotton canvas with leather trims and its dimensions are 24 x 36.5 x 6.5cm.
This bag has a one tab closure and strap that's easy to adjust. The key features of the Balham Troon Cotton-Twill laptop satchel include storage space for a laptop, media pocket, key clip and media port. On the outside there is a back pocket to store further items.
The Balham Troon Cotton-Twill 13 inch Laptop Satchel is available in black and costs £95.00.

Oxberry Canvas Leather-trim 15 Inch Laptop Briefcase

If you’re looking for a briefcase that's durable and practical, this is the bag for you. The Oxberry Canvas laptop briefcase is made from PET canvas and features a leather trim. It includes a laptop storage area, media pocket and a pocket on the outside.
The dimensions of this bag are 28 x 40 x 5.5cm and it weighs 0.7kg. This bag is available in black and costs £129.00

Henderson Leather 15 inch Laptop Briefcase

This is a smart, no frills leather briefcase. However, it includes all the features a modern business professional expects from a high-quality laptop briefcase. Its most important features include exterior pockets, a laptop storage area and an easy to remove shoulder strap.
This Henderson Leather laptop briefcase comes in brown and costs £199.00.

Bungo Leather 15 inch Laptop Expandable Messenger

If you’re looking for a classic looking Messenger combined with modern features, look no further than the Bungo Leather 15 inch Laptop Expandable Messenger.

This Messenger is perfect for holding many of today's most important devices. It features a laptop storage area, media pocket, document sleeve and other pockets for your other smaller devices and items. The Bungo Leather 15 inch Laptop Expandable Messenger's dimensions are 30 x 39 x 14 cm.
The Bungo Leather 15 inch Laptop Expandable Messenger is available in black and costs £249.00.

Bungo Leather 15 Inch Laptop Expandable Messenger
The Bungo Leather 15 Inch Laptop Expandable Messenger is another smart and practical Messenger that's perfect for business people on the move. It's designed to store important devices, documents and other work-related items, thanks to its laptop compartment, document sleeve, media pocket and tablet compartment.

The dimensions of this Bungo Messenger are 30 x 39 x 14 cm and it's made from full grain vegetable tanned leather.
This is a brown Messenger and costs £249.00.

Brompton Newbury Leather 15 Inch Laptop Briefcase

This Brompton Newbury laptop briefcase is an impressive, classy, durable laptop briefcase made from full-grain leather. It's got all the features you expect to find in a modern high-end laptop briefcase including a tablet compartment, laptop compartment, phone pocket, pockets, card slots and much more. The dimensions of this product are 41 x 30 x 11cm.

The Brompton Newbury Leather 15 Inch Laptop Briefcase is available in black and costs £299.00.

When you decide to buy a business bag from a store like, you want to be sure it caters for all your requirements. The Knomo products above achieve this.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Feeling stressed? Tips to help you cope with, and overcome, stress

Modern life can be, and frequently is, stressful, and there’s not really a great deal we can do about it. From working long hours and busy commutes to fitting family life around everybody’s leisure pursuits and doing all of the household chores, there never seems to be a moment’s peace. It’s little wonder, then, that so many of us are stressed, frustrated, or anxious on a regular basis. Deadlines, demands, and daily life keeps us on our toes. While some may argue that a little bit of stress never did anybody any harm, there is much research to the contrary. Stress can cause us to lose sleep, neglect our own well-being, become ill more regularly, and even contribute to life-threatening conditions and increase our risks of strokes, heart attacks, and autoimmune and heart diseases. But how is this possible? Stress will often take our bodies to extremes and back again, increasing our heart rates, releasing stress hormones, and making it much more likely that we’ll react negatively to certain situations. So, yes, stress can often motivate us to get things done, but it can also be incredibly risky to our health, moods, relationships, and futures.

Coping with stress

Whether you’re experiencing a particularly difficult period in your life, seem to struggle to cope on a regular basis, or have reached the end of your tether, the good news is that stress can be managed; it’s all about taking a little time for yourself, and realizing that certain behaviors just aren’t good for you. For example, if you find work to be a root cause of the stress in your life be sure to step away from your desk for a break every now and again, try switching off by reading a book or dozing during your commute, and limit the number of times you check your emails, or answer your phone, outside of work hours. Exercise is a great stress-buster, and mood lifter, so aim to walk a little further, go out for a run, or even visit your local pool at least once a week. What could be better than taking time for yourself, during which you’re literally burning your stress away? Ensuring that you eat well, keep hydrated, get a good amount of sleep, and limit aggravations such as caffeine and alcohol, are all great ways to limit stress while meditation and massage can help to alleviate prolonged bouts of anxiety.

 Are you doing everything you can?

Of course, if you’re particularly prone to stress, simply managing your diet, going to bed earlier, or avoiding coffee will often do nothing to alleviate your symptoms. So, what now? It’s time to look at what’s causing that stress and reduce as many factors as possible; can you work fewer hours, travel a different way to work, reduce what’s expected of you, or even change the direction of your life altogether? Such drastic actions aren’t always possible. In times such as this, it’s essential to create a support network, analyze your attitudes and emotions, manage your sense of control, and, in some cases, seek a professional’s opinion. Medication or behavior therapy can be helpful in instances of increased stress, while consulting a therapist, such as chiropractor Sol Cogan, can also work wonders. Chiropractic care will assess your stress’s effect on your body, reduce muscle tension, and help you to face your life with a healthier attitude. Similarly, learning how to meditate or do yoga can change your outlook. Are you ready to beat stress?

Stress, while it can’t always be avoided, it CAN be managed with a healthy diet, positive outlook, and a little expert advice. Whether you decide to exercise more to beat the blues, change your work duties, or seek a specialist, know that you’re not on your own.

Match the look of your bedroom with your fashion style

Whatever the look of your bedroom interior, it's got to match your personal fashion style. Where can you be totally at ease and relaxed, if not in your bedroom? It's your personal space, and it should reflect how you relate to the world, how you feel, what you love, who you are.

Hippy chick

Boho is where it's at for the hippy chick. Flowing clothes that often reference vintage and ethnic styles are layered for ultimate impact. A feminine and soft style that is relaxed and laid back, this translates perfectly to the bedroom interior. Boho-chic home designs feature bedding in jewel-colored fabrics (think bright Mexican textiles or sequined throws from Goa), dark wood furniture that is ornately carved such as screens, low tables, and chests with subcontinental flavors. Fairy lights strung between the carved bedposts of a grand divan, teamed with silk flower garlands adorning the window frames, the complete look is magical, uplifting and Zen.  

City slicker

If a smart business suit and killer heels are your signature costume, a minimalist bedroom interior will feel like home. After a chaotic day at the office, a calm haven is what you need. Focus on the pale end of the color spectrum, mix gentle pastels in natural fabrics and source textiles with a tactile element. A light and spacious atmosphere will be energizing and serene, so keep furnishings to a minimum, storage to the max and window treatments low key. Streamlined internal window shutters are a harmonious and elegant alternative to fussy drapes that attract dust and take up space. Easy to fit, great value and super-sleek, window shutters were designed for the minimalist in you.

Add a spa touch with scented vanilla candles and low lighting for a tranquil, modern bedroom, perfect for de-stressing.

Lux lady

If jungle prints such as leopard spot and tiger stripe cover your go-to garments, then a boudoir that rocks the lux look is required. A decadent chaise longue upholstered in velvet zebra stripe, an ocelot design bedcover, and joyful giraffe-print wallpaper all work together when done just right. Soft, sensual fabrics, dramatic chandeliers, and opulent accessories underline the exotic nature of the room's leading lady.

Outdoor girl

Are you more likely to be found outside in the garden amongst the birds, bees and flowers? Are florals a permanent fixture in your wardrobe? Feminine rosebud print tea dresses make a good stepping-off point for a fresh air lover's bedroom design. Seek out exquisite wallpapers that feature delicate botanic designs, butterflies, trees or exotic birds – anything that brings the natural world indoors. Choose bedding with prints or delicate embroidery that echoes the wildflower meadows you love or the formal gardens you favor.

Glass topped side tables with driftwood bases, a tall palm in a sculpted pot and still life collections of found objects such as pebbles, feathers, and seed pods should be laid out on display. Storage solutions in natural materials such as wicker baskets and reclaimed apple boxes sit beautifully in this room with a fresh air feel.

What you wear says so much about who you are, so it's no surprise we feel comfortable in surroundings that continue that style conversation. Have you figured out in which bedroom you belong? 

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