There’s something magical about entering Hayley Solano’s world. After a conversation with our November Teafluencer, we felt, well, just lighter on our feet and somewhat inclined to giggle.
You’ll see what we mean when you take a peek into Hayley’s enchanted life. From her childhood tea parties to her fairytale-inspired art, this modern tea-loving social media strategist has a love of things reminiscent of another time, one with more sugar and fewer worries.
Ready to see more magic in your world? Then sit back with a cup of your favorite Harney tea and a warm sugar cookie, because this interview is that kind of read. And if you end up feeling a little more carefree and downright cheerful, you can thank Hayley for reminding us all that beauty is wherever we choose to see it.
Harney: Tell us a little about you. Where are you from, educational background, where you live, family, etc.
Hayley: A little about me…I was born and raised in Southern California and am an absolute California girl at heart! I studied Sociology at the University of California, Irvine. I would describe myself as an old soul, drawn to all things timeless and romantic!
Harney: How do you categorize what you do and who you are professionally? We’re referring to you as a Social Media Influencer for simplicity, but on your sites you have used “Blogger,” “Singer-Songwriter,” “Nostalgic Heart” and “Creative Soul.” Let’s put it this way: if you had to introduce yourself at a party, what would you say?
Hayley: I feel so lucky that my career involves several opportunities to be creative! The avenues of my work include:
- Running my lifestyle blog, An Enchanted Life: Inspiration for Whimsical Living
- Providing social media strategy and content creation services to a variety of brands through my consulting business, From the Heart Creative
- Writing and releasing original music
Harney: When did you first start your social media posting? What inspired you?
Hayley: I first started posting on social media in 2013. At that time, I started on Instagram so that I could promote my music. However, I quickly realized that the platform presented an opportunity to share inspiration beyond music. I began photographing the little things that fill my heart with joy (e.g. tea cups, storybooks, flowers) and sharing them online. This evolved into what my Instagram page is today: a celebration of everyday magic.
Harney: On your website you say, “An Enchanted Life is dedicated to celebrating everyday magic.” Where do you find everyday magic?
Hayley: I love this question! I find everyday magic in the simplest things. The way the sunlight makes gilded pages of a book twinkle…coming upon a dandelion in the backyard and making a wish on it…the moment you get in the car and the radio is playing your favorite song. I think it’s all about discovering what is magical to you personally - what those little things in life are that make your heart light up.
Harney: Your site and social media accounts are certainly full of beautiful things, and you cover many topics: Books/Reading, Inspiration, Decorate, Celebrate, Style/Beauty and Personal. Why did you choose those areas, and how do you decide what to post?
Hayley: Thank you! I’m very passionate about inspiring others to see that beauty can be found just about anywhere. Covering a variety of lifestyle topics allows me to share that sentiment. It’s also really important to me to remind others that if they’re having a difficult time finding beauty around them, there are lots of simple ways to create it! The inspiration for all my content begins with these concepts.
Harney: Before we focus in on one area you write about on your site, let’s touch on your singing. What’s your process like for writing a song? And how did it feel to record your very own music?
Hayley: Songwriting is the most personal form of creative expression for me. Music is a cathartic and inspiring way to not only express the stories in my heart but document beloved memories. I would say that most of the time, inspiration for a song sparks when I’ve experienced a moment that I don’t want to ever forget.
In terms of process, there are various creative approaches I take depending on the song. Sometimes lyrics will come to me after I’ve written a diary entry. Other times, I can’t quite figure out what emotion I’m experiencing until I pick up my guitar and start strumming. Sometimes I come up with a title first and build a song around it.
Recording my EP, “It’s Still You,” was an exciting experience. I was able to bring my stories to life in a way that I had only ever pictured in my mind. The songs on my EP are a peek into my diary, a glimpse of my dearest memories and a piece of my heart. It is my hope that when people hear my music, they feel comforted, understood and as though they have discovered a kindred spirit.
Harney: Ok, let’s talk specifically about books. You’re clearly a huge fan and have a strong affinity for storybooks and fairytales—do you ever remember a time when you didn’t love them? Do you still read them today? And where do you find the beautiful editions you showcase on your site?
Hayley: I’ve always absolutely loved getting lost in stories. My favorite part about storytelling is its capability to connect perfect strangers – to make us feel like we’ve found a friend in someone we’ve never met before. C.S. Lewis once said, “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” So often, this is how we feel when we read stories that resonate with our current circumstances or memorable experiences. Storytellers make us feel understood, which is a beautiful gift.
Another special gift that storytelling provides is escape. Fairytales in particular give our imaginations the freedom and inspiration to run wild in places we’ve never been before. I couldn’t possibly ever grow out of fairytales – I believe daydreaming is good for the soul.
When it comes to finding beautiful editions of classic books, I usually browse through Barnes & Noble Collectible Editions, Chiltern Classics and PaperMill Classics! I recommend doing a quick Google search for these as they are available at various outlets.
Harney: We’re doing a post this month that pairs up some classic books with some awesome teas. In your Autumn Reading List post you wrote, “Although I love getting lost in stories year-round, there is something about autumn in particular that always makes me want to curl up with a book and a cup of tea.” What are you reading now, and what kind of tea do you pair your books with?
Hayley: Oh yes, I love getting cozy with a book this time of year! In California, we don’t typically experience traditional seasons. Stormy days are few and far between; a fun way to celebrate them is with a cup of tea and a beautiful story.
I’m almost finished with The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. It is lovely! Julie Andrews’s new memoir, Home Work, is next on my reading list.
I usually choose tea flavors based on the current season. A rainy day with a cozy classic calls for spice tea!
Harney: Speaking of tea (sorry, we’re kinda hooked on the subject!) you also have a visually stunning post entitled Whimsical Tea Cup Patterns where you wrote, “Tea cups have a way of making even the simplest of moments feel like a celebration.” When did you discover the magic of tea cups? Why do you think they’re special?
Hayley: One of the earliest memories I have is playing tea party with little doll friends on a pastel patchwork quilt my mother made me. I remember pouring pretend tea from floral plastic cups and feeling like it was a special occasion. I think that experience is what must have taught me how magical it can be to celebrate simple, everyday moments.
When I grew older, I became very fond of my mother’s Old Country Roses china collection. Although it was reserved for holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, every once in a while we would use her tea cups on an ordinary day. Somehow sipping our tea from that beautiful china made morning breakfast seem like a decadent celebration!
Harney: One more tea question: you also posted on Instagram, “If you could host a tea party of any theme, which would you choose? I think it would be such fun to have a Mary Poppins-themed tea!” Your love of whimsy and magic – where did that come from?
Hayley: My love of whimsy and magic stems from my childhood, specifically getting lost in beautiful stories like The Secret Garden and A Little Princess. As I got older, I continued to find myself drawn to anything fairytale-like. From storybooks to tea cups, discovering whimsy in everyday items is a simple reminder that real life and fairytales aren’t always so different from one another.
Harney: Final tea question: do you have any favorite flavors or types of Harney & Sons tea (or anything you’ve been wanting to try?)
Feel like jumping into a watercolor painting or riding a unicorn? Just wait until you see Hayley’s beautiful book and tea cup art on her Enchanted Life website or her Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest or Socialix accounts. We are grateful to Hayley for sharing her story with us and hope, for her sake, that it’s raining cats and dogs in California! All photography has been provided by Hayley.