We’re Moving?!

If you have been reading through my blog for the last few months, you’ve probably noticed that I keep talking about moving.  Back in December or so, I was very excited thinking about moving when our lease is up in 2018, yet in January, I talked about how we pretty much decided not to move due to finances and simply rearranged our apartment to make it easier to stay.

Well, our plans changed again.  While I feel kind of annoyed at how back and forth we’ve been about this, we honestly always wanted to move, and we were just trying to make the right decision for our situation.  I’m reminding myself that nothing was set in stone, so it’s totally fine to change our minds. 😉  Through a series of events, we’ve come to realize that moving is definitely in the cards for this year and everything has aligned rather quickly.

In fact, we have taken over a lease at another complex and will be moving this Saturday, the 24th!!

Now we’re just looking for a lease takeover on our apartment, but we’re moving regardless of someone taking it over or not.  (We’re not breaking our lease, just not going to live there for the last couple payments.)

We are so excited about this new place, you guys.  Let’s look at the stats of the differences between our current and new apartments:

Current Apartment:

  • 450 sq. ft.
  • $1176/mo
  • No outdoor balcony/patio/yard.
  • No storage.
  • No dishwasher.
  • No washer/dryer (or hook-ups).
  • Utilities included.
  • Studio floor plan (aka no bedroom).
  • No A/C or air ventilation since there are two windows on the same wall.
  • Non-smoking building with a smoking neighbor that the complex does nothing about (aka the smoke comes into our apartment!)
  • No parcel locker
  • 15 minutes to hubby’s work

New Apartment:

  • 611 sq. ft
  • $1130/mo
  • Private fenced yard (perfect for our dog, plus it comes with a grill and fire pit!)
  • Private outdoor storage unit
  • Dishwasher
  • Washer & dryer in-unit
  • Utilities separate.
  • 1 bedroom
  • A/C!!
  • I don’t know about non-smoking, but the windows are set-up differently so neighbors can’t stand directly in front of them. 😉
  • Parcel locker
  • 15 minutes to hubby’s work

Any tips for moving?!  This is our first move together!  To be honest, I will say that I’m slightly saddened at the thought of leaving this apartment, not because it’s great or anything, but because this has been our first home together.  Still, it will be even better than what we have now, so that’s what I’m reminding myself of.  🙂

We’ve reserved a U-Haul for Saturday, and have already packed up a few things, but still have the kitchen and other random items to pack.  We have set up a forward for our address, contacted our internet and insurance, and called about activating utilities.  Can you think of anything we are missing??

Thanks guys!!  I can’t wait to take you along this adventure with us. 🙂

Until next time,

-Tialla ❤

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“What is your…?” Q&A

I realize I didn’t post my “What’s Up Wednesday” this week for February’s edition. :/  Let’s suffice it to say that this week was completely swamped with work and class for me, so I didn’t have a chance to write the post.

However, I finally finished all my work and homework for the week, and I’m waiting for my hubby to get home from work to start our weekend, so I have some time to get this post up!  I tried putting on the Olympics, but our TV service is pretty bad if lots of people are on the same channel, so it’s blotchy and not working.  Instead, I put on HGTV, and I’m kicked back on our reclining love seat.  HGTV has been my addiction lately when I have downtime, so it’s not a bad substitution in the least.  😉  As I type up this post, I’m just excited and grateful that the weekend is finally here.  It’s been a week, you guys.  But right now…this moment is fantastic.

Allie over at Living My Full Life posted this a few weeks ago and I loved it, so I wanted to write one as well!

What is your…

Worst habit?

Procrastinating exercise.

Best habit?

Being productive with daily to-do lists.

Favorite part of your job?

Working from home!

Least favorite part of your job?

Long hours for less pay.

Cure for sadness?

For me, cuddling with my husband with chocolate milk and a great show on the TV.

Dream Job?

I pretty much feel like I do have my dream job with a full-time income at home as a writer, but I have always had dreams of being a book shop owner or librarian.

Favorite food?

Seafood.

Least favorite food?

Beets or sauerkraut

Favorite room in your house? 

We live in a studio, so it’s all one room.  But if I were to narrow it down to an area, I would say our “bedroom.”  It just feels so cozy since it’s tucked away and we hung fairy lights on the ceiling.

Dream travel destination?

Italy!  Specifically Rome, Venice, Cinque Terre, and Florence.

Cinque Terre

Go-to meal?

Probably Sloppy Joes. 😉

Passion?

Writing!  Bet you didn’t see that one coming. 😉

Happiest memory? 

All of the wonderful memories with my love. ❤

Favorite way to spend a day off?

Doing anything with Joshua!  Whether that’s just relaxing at home, hiking, or a day trip out of town.  Whatever it is, I just want to be with him.  🙂

Feel free to post your answers to these questions in the comments or write your own post about it!  I’d love to read your responses. 😉

Until next time,

-Tialla ❤

Class Struggles: Online Student Edition

I started my first for-credit college class on January 16th, and I have to say…it’s been a bit of a struggle.  It’s an online class, and though I’m used to doing everything online (I was homeschooled and I’ve been working from home online for years), this is just so different!  I audited an in-person college class last semester, which I thought would give me a feel for college, but I was wrong–at least for this situation.  I realize this is just a learning curve and I will figure it out eventually.

However, I was wondering if you guys could help me out with a question.

Is it typical for an online class to not have lectures?  I took an online workshop a few years ago and we had a weekly lecture to read, yet this class doesn’t have lectures at all.  So far, my instructor just has us read the textbook, and then complete several assignments and quizzes on subjects unrelated to the textbook readings.  Currently, my grades are fine, but I can’t help but wonder how I’m supposed to continue doing well when we aren’t being taught the subject matter before turning in assignments.

For example, we are supposed to write an essay by the end of February.  This week, we need to turn in our essay intros, with instructions to “review the introduction strategies in Module 1.”  However, we were never taught introduction strategies.  I have scoured my course syllabus and modules, but there’s nothing.  Something just doesn’t seem right, and I feel like I’m missing something.  I emailed her about it and she said she will get back to me, so I guess I’ll see.

I’m wondering if this kind of experience is just this particular class, or typical for online classes.

Definitely not accurate for my husband, but it makes me laugh all the same, lol.

Also, peer-to-peer discussions and reviews suck.  This is more of a rant/vent than anything, so feel free to skip over it, lol.  I’ve always been the person that was excluded or criticized by kids in school and social groups, and for some reason, that even continues in college.  I don’t understand why we can’t just be adults.  “Constructive feedback” doesn’t mean to completely tear apart my entry and try to make me feel like my work is worthless.

Even though I’m only taking one class right now, it has been exhausting figuring out how to balance 11+ hour work days, class, keeping up on things around the house (such as cooking/meal planning/budgeting), working out, and taking Kona on her daily walks.  Since starting school, more of my work days have ended close to midnight than not, with a wake-up call at 6:20 the next morning to start it all again.

Again, I know this is a learning curve and I’ll figure out how to balance it.  In the meantime, however, I feel pretty thinly stretched!  “Like butter scraped over too much bread…”  (Sorry, couldn’t resist the nerdy opportunity!)  Thank goodness for my husband being so supportive and helping out however he can when he’s home from work.

Kona and Zelda help me destress, though, so it’s definitely not a bad experience, and I’m so grateful to be able to work and attend college all from the comfort of my own home!  😉  I expected starting class to be a challenge, but I suppose these particular struggles are just different than I anticipated, lol.

Can any of you relate?

Also, random question that I’ve been meaning to ask all of you lovely bloggers: Are you on Snapchat?  If you are, I’d LOVE to connect with you.  I use it more than Instagram and I’d enjoy how “in the moment” it is.  Add me @tiallarising and I’ll add you back (or comment your username and I’ll add you)! ❤ 

Until next time,

-Tialla ❤

Life with Kona

Tomorrow makes three weeks since we adopted our sweet Kona and I wanted to share an update about how it’s going with her!

Crate training: She is SO good in a crate!  You guys, she never whines, and she will stay quiet for as long as we are in bed…even when sleeping late on Saturdays.  The moment we are up, she’s dying to get out, but I think that’s pretty natural.  I’ve never had a dog be so patient in a crate.  She certainly doesn’t like going in her crate, though, so we try to minimize how often she needs to go in there.  Typically, since I work from home, she only needs to be in the crate at night and when we’re at church on Sunday mornings.  We’d be setting ourselves up for big problems if we let her roam the apartment while we aren’t there. 😉

Kona & Zelda: These two have become best buddies!  It melts my heart to see how far they have come since we brought Kona home.  They play together all the time and cuddle with each other.  It’s amazing to see how Zelda has realized the pros of having another animal friend to play with instead of just Mommy & Daddy.

The upper respiratory infection:  All cured!  The antibiotics from our vet cured it up within just a couple of days and after the full dose, she hasn’t had any symptoms at all!

Scratching:  Continuous.  I’m starting to wonder if she just has allergies or something preexisting that was aggravated by the malnutrition.  Her scratching does seem better, as she used to scratch anytime we paused for just a second when walking outside, and now she never scratches outside.  Maybe it will still just take time.  I’m thinking I’ll give it a full month of good nutrition with olive oil & coconut oil to see if it gets any better before I contact the vet.  For now, though, we’ll be getting her a pair of booties to help her not hurt herself when she scratches and to protect her paws (which she chews on religiously).

Leash training:  When we got her, it was obvious from the start that she had never been trained how to properly walk on a leash.  She loved to constantly walk from side to side, cut in front, and go as far as she wanted.  However, we’ve been taking her on daily walks with strict “heel” training, and just tonight I saw huge progress.  I didn’t have to hold the leash taut, and with simply telling her “heel,” she walked beside me the entire way–even with cars driving by and other dogs out in the neighborhood.

Social training: We have been doing our best to train her not to bark, growl, or even whine when she sees other dogs or people (unless of course, this dog or person is a threat).  We want her to be well-behaved so we don’t have to worry about her going frantic if another person or dog happens to show up wherever we are.  When we first brought her home, she growled or barked at other dogs on occasion, but she doesn’t do it at all anymore.  She might whine as she walks away, but most of the time they don’t even phase her, including if they are barking directly right at her.  Now, she might get scared and slightly jump up on our legs for comfort (which totally melts our hearts), but other than that, she handles other dogs superbly.  I’m so proud of her!

Baths:  She is petrified of baths.  I’m pretty sure she was somehow abused with a bathtub because the two times we’ve needed to put her in it (once was for her initial bath when we got her home because she was filthy and the other time was to rinse ice melt off her paws), she has fought it and then been paralyzed with fear.  Terror literally freezes every muscle.  The first night we had her, she didn’t even want to go in the bathroom, and whined when I was just brushing my teeth because she was concerned about me.  She will go in the bathroom just fine now, but the horror of the bathtub remains.  Poor thing.  😦  We avoid the bathtub as much as possible, though baths are inevitable, so I’m hoping with time she will grow more comfortable.

Brushing:  Though she might not like baths, she loves being brushed!  I don’t think she was ever brushed before because she thought it was a toy at first and didn’t understand what I was doing.  However, when she realized how good it felt, she went mellow and let me brush her all over for a good twenty minutes–even asking for more by putting her paw on my arm!

Car riding:  When we first got her, she was apprehensive about riding in the car, but now she looks forward to car rides since we take her everywhere.  She even heads over to the parking lot after our daily walks because she wants to go in the car.  However, mommy does have to ride next to her in the back seat because doesn’t like being alone–so we both get chauffeured. 😉

Chewing:  She’s definitely a puppy and loves to chew, though thankfully it was been fairly contained to her toys or Zelda’s cat tree.  She did chew through two charging cables and one of my items of clothing I left on the bed, but overall, she’s really not a bad chewer.  We bought her a Lamb chop, which she has destroyed, as well as one of Zelda’s toy mice, and today she chewed away on Zelda’s cardboard box.  I’m thinking that when we pick up her little booties, we’ll be getting a rope or some other less destructible chew toy for her to gnaw on since she obviously needs something to chew.  If we don’t give her something satisfactory, I’m sure she’ll find something we’d rather she didn’t chew, lol.

Potty breaks:  Since we don’t have a yard, I was apprehensive about all the times I’d have to walk Kona out to potty during the day.  Thankfully, she has a good size bladder and only needs to go out about every five hours.  She doesn’t mess in the house between potty breaks, nor does she even whine or stand by the door.  So for now, I take her out at 6:20 AM, 11:30 AM, 4:30-5:00 PM for our evening potty & walk, and then daddy takes her out before bed.

Learned commands:  She has learned “sit,” “shake,” and to not chew on our hands when she is playing with us.  She already knew “come” but we have expanded it to “come here” and “c’mon,” both of which she recognizes now.  She has selective obedience, but there’s no doubt that she fully knows and understands these commands.

We like luxury in this house. 😉

What are we working on:  Not jumping on everyone who wants to say hi, “lay down,” (also simply “down” for that matter), and to ring a bell to potty.  I’m not sure the bell will actually work, but we are keeping up with it consistently, so I guess we will see if it sticks.  The only problem is Zelda occasionally wants to play with the bell, so that confuses Kona. 😉

The hardest part:  Honestly, it’s just not fun at all to take her outside first thing in the morning as soon as I get out of bed at 6:20 AM.  Maybe that’s not early for you, but it’s early for me, and it’s difficult to not only wake up, but take her out immediately, down our apartment stairs in the chilly darkness…while I’m still half-asleep, lol.  She’s totally worth it and everything, but it is a struggle.  Can’t wait until we can eventually find a good place with a small fenced yard.  I’ll take any patch of dirt, haha!  However, Joshua & I have come to a bit of an arrangement that I take her out during the week since he has to get ready for work, and he takes her out on the weekend, so that’s nice.  🙂

It’s not uncommon to find that she has flipped down a pillow for herself. ❤

Great find: We were looking for the best place to get her pet ID tag, and were shocked at how expensive they are!  The cheapest is Walmart, and that’s still about $10!  I guess that’s normal, but it seemed like a lot to me, so we looked around more and found we could get one personalized on Amazon for only $3.25 with free shipping!  It came in a few days ago and it’s great quality.  I highly recommend getting your pet tags on Amazon to save several dollars.

We have a full name for her now: Kona Rose Newman.  Our Kona Rose is just such a sweetheart!

And that’s about all for now!  Do you have any doggie “tried and true” tips, whether for training or anything else?

Having Kona has reminded me of just how wonderful it is to have a dog in the house.  She’s been so much fun and such a blessing!  ❤

Until next time,

-Tialla ❤

Our First Dog!

I considered titling this post “An Addition to Our Family,” but then I realized most of you would probably think it’s a pregnancy announcement, lol.

Anywho, I mentioned last week in my “What’s Up Wednesday” post that we were hoping to adopt a dog soon.  Little did I know it would actually happen the very next day!!  Introducing Kona, the newest member of the Newman family!

Joshua and I were planning on waiting until I settled into a good schedule for balancing school and full-time work before adopting a dog, but…that didn’t happen.  😉  I think it’s a good thing, though, because it’s an adjustment either way, and perhaps it’s best to get the biggest adjustment out of the way before I add in school!  This is such a fun way to start off the New Year as well!

We had been actively avoiding looking at the pets section on Craigslist or at the shelter’s listing of dogs because we are huge suckers and wouldn’t resist their cute faces.  If we could, we would adopt allll the animals.  However, on Thursday, I felt such a strong pull to look at the pets section on Craigslist despite knowing better, haha.

Well…long story short, I happened upon a dog who looked like such a sweetheart and fit the age we wanted and our budget.  After discussing her with my husband, a few back and forth texts with the people who had her, and a meeting with her that night, we adopted her!  She’s the sweetest thing ever!  I just know it was meant to be…I totally believe God picked her out for us.

She’s already spayed, has all her shots, microchipped, house trained, rarely barks, and is only about a year old.  She’s friendly, cuddly, and does well with cats and other dogs.  Additionally, she’s only about thirty pounds full-grown, which is perfect for our small apartment.

We honestly don’t know what her breed is.  Obviously, her coat is brindle and most people think that means she has some pit bull or boxer in her, but our vet says brindle could actually come from any number of breeds.  He actually thinks she may be a mix of a brindle mountain cur hound or black mouth cur hound.  Either way, she’s super sweet and adorable and that’s all that matters!  I’m convinced mixes have the best personalities anyway.  😉

She’s doing so well already and learning fast.  Unfortunately, her previous owners neglected her, so she’s undernourished and has an upper respiratory infection.  We immediately took her to the vet and she’s doing significantly better with just a few days of antibiotics.  She scratches a lot because of how damaged her coat is from being malnourished, poor thing.  We have to constantly tell her to stop scratching because she has scabs from the scratching and keeps making herself bleed.  Our vet recommended putting olive oil on her food to give her coat extra fatty acids, so hopefully her misery will let up soon!  We’ve also been using a bit of coconut oil to give her an extra boost.

It makes me so upset to think about people who don’t treat their animals right and don’t care that they are suffering.  It’s especially upsetting that they neglected this sweet girl.  I just don’t understand how someone can say they love a dog, yet not give them the basic care they need like adequate food, water, and medicine.

So far, there haven’t been problems between Kona and Zelda, other than Zelda acting like she doesn’t live here anymore and hiding under the bed for most of the time.  It breaks my heart to see Zelda so disturbed since she was our baby originally.  She is coming out a little more each day and I’ve heard it just takes time for cats to get comfortable around a dog, so we are trying to be patient and encourage her whenever she does come out.  Kona even sleeps in her kennel at night, so Zelda has free-reign of the house at that point.

Huge progress! This is the first time Zelda chose to be near Kona at all.

We want to socialize her as much as possible, so we bought a seatbelt safety harness and take her in the car with us whenever possible.  We want to make sure she experiences a variety of environments so she’s friendly and comfortable with people and other dogs alike.

It’s definitely a big adjustment having a dog since we are used to just having our cat who stays to herself and pretty much takes care of herself, lol.  We’ve both had dogs before, but this is our first dog together, so it’s a big change!  There’s much more to think about, but it’s totally worth it.  She’s just the best!

Any tips for adjusting to a new dog in the house, whether for us or for the cat?  Thanks!

Until next time,

-Tialla ❤

Giveaway!!

Did someone mention a GIVEAWAY?!  FREE BOOKS?  *throws confetti*

To celebrate the New Year, I’m giving away (3) signed copies of my novel, “Where Shadows Lie”! I’ll be selecting three winners at the end of the giveaway! If you’d like to enter to win a free copy of my book, now’s your chance!

***Please note that this book is Christian fiction.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

His dark past haunts him. His new life taunts him.

After twenty years in the gangs and a hefty prison sentence, an early release gives Shawn the opportunity to turn his life around. But that isn’t so easy when gangs are involved. Only a year into his fresh start, the gang catches on and makes Shawn’s life miserable. After all, once a gang member, always a gang member. His very blood belongs to them.

Threats become promises. Whispers become actions. Words become bullets.

He must fight – not only for his life, but to save his honor, prove his integrity, and protect the woman he loves. An ember of hope glows in the darkness, strengthening his resolve. Will her support and his determination be enough to dispel the shadows of his past?

A story of discovery and faith, love and perseverance.

(Note: Website is now www.tiallarising.com)

Happy entering!!

Until next time,

-Tialla ❤

What’s Up Wednesday | Jan. 2018

Happy New Year!!

It is honestly so hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact that it’s 2018.  When I think about everything that happened in 2017, feels like a full year, but it just went by so fast!  2017 marked a new journey for this blog.  I worked to breathe fresh air into it, and I love what it’s become.  I started lifestyle blogging, finally finding my purpose for this blog, and really connected with this amazing blogging community.  On that note, I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who sent me well-wishes when I posted I was sick.  It warmed my heart to know you all care!  🙂  The blogging community really is the best!! ❤

I hope you all had a wonderful New Year’s weekend!  Joshua had work off since a few days before Christmas (perks of working at a school), so we had a nice long break.  Even though I still had to work last week, I had reduced hours, so it was wonderful!

Since I was still feeling sick, we spent New Year’s Eve in our apartment, eating all the junk food (hello potstickers, soda, fried pickles, and sliders!).  We played the board game Munchkin, decluttered & reorganized our entire home, and played Mario Party, stopping just before midnight to watch the ball drop on TV with glasses of sparkling cider.  And of course our New Year’s kiss. 😉 ❤

We began our New Year reading in bed with chamomile tea, which was practically the most perfect way (to us) to start 2018!  Also, my mister gave me a container of glitter eyeshadow for Christmas (which I’ve been wanting for forever), so I played around with it on New Year’s Day.

And now it’s time for my first “What’s Up Wednesday” of 2018!  I hope you all enjoy catching up.  🙂

Though everyone else posts theirs on the last Wednesday of the month, I’m joining Shay at Mix & Match Mama.

Here’s what we’ll be chatting about:

WHAT WE’RE EATING:

This week, we are finishing up the junk food we bought for New Year’s Eve & New Year’s Day.  When we want to go carefree during a holiday, we tend to browse the frozen food section at the store and buy the “goodies” we never otherwise get.  This year we bought tons since we wanted to make sure both days were covered, but we didn’t even get close to eating them all!

If we decide to save the remaining frozen foods for another time, I have a couple soups on the meal plan this week, such as chicken parmesan soup and tomato tortellini soup.

WHAT I’M REMINISCING ABOUT:

All the memories and adventures Joshua & I shared together in 2017.  It’s always fun to look back on the past year and remember the things we did together.  By no means was 2017 free of struggles or problems, but it’s wonderful to remember the positive things that happened.  It was our full first calendar year of being married from start to finish! ❤  Regardless of any negativity that came in 2017, I had my husband, my best friend, my love, by my side.  That in itself is so precious to me.  That’s all I need to praise God for a wonderful year!

WHAT I’M LOVING:

My new Nook Glowlight 3!  Joshua bought it for me as a Christmas present and it’s absolutely fantastic!  I’m sure you all know by now that I’m a bookworm, but you might not know that I love reading on my Nook.  I don’t prefer it over a physical book or vice versa–to me, a book is a book, regardless of eBook or physical.  However, it is so convenient and I do love my eReader.

I’m not a fan of the tablet-style Nooks with the backlit screens because that seems too much like reading on my phone or computer, which I have a hard time getting into.  The Glowlight is simply an eReader with a light cascading over the screen, like shining a flashlight evenly on a page of a book.  My last Nook was an older version of the Nook Glowlight, but the button started having issues, as well as the touchscreen, so the new one was such a perfect present!  Plus, this Nook can hold thousands more books, which makes my bibliophile heart very happy.

WHAT WE’VE BEEN UP TO:

Joshua had nearly two weeks off work for the holidays, so we had a nice break together!  I’ve been sick the whole time, which was a bummer for enjoying our break, but I also was so thankful to have my husband home with me when I was sick.  Normally, he’s always at work (understandably, lol), but it was so much nicer to not be alone for the brunt of it when I was feeling so sick.

WHAT I’M DREADING:

We are still figuring out what is going on with my body since Clindamycin wrecked my system back in August.  I’m on my second round of antibiotics since the first round didn’t do anything, so I’m just hoping and praying this actually works!  If not, I might have to go to a specialist, which makes me super nervous.  :/

WHAT I’M WORKING ON:

Getting back into a routine after our long break while still getting over my bad cold virus.  I can tell my sinuses/throat/epiglottis is getting better, dreadfully slow, but surely, thank goodness!  Even my doctor said that the virus is a super tough one for the majority of people this year; it just hangs on forever!

Also, I’ve been dealing with insomnia the past four nights, and I don’t know what it’s from but I’m trying to figure it out so I can get some sleep!  Today was my first full day back to work and I got zero sleep last night, so I’m running purely on two cups of coffee, a Dr. Pepper, and the hope that if I don’t let myself fall asleep at all during the day, I might finally sleep tonight.  I’m wondering if it’s a combination of the sinus/throat virus plus our schedule being all out of whack from the break.  Here’s to hoping & praying tonight I can break the streak and finally get some sleep at night.

WHAT I’M EXCITED ABOUT:

We are in the process of rearranging our apartment!  I mentioned before that we were planning on moving when our lease is up, but after a long discussion, we’ve pretty much settled on staying.  We realized it’s a better decision fiscally for us, especially since we don’t know what the future holds for medical appointments for me.  We are also hoping to adopt a dog, and it’ll be cheaper at our current apartment since we’ve already paid the pet deposit.  Since we decided to stay for now, we realized we needed to rearrange to make it feel more manageable and “homey” for the longer term.

Just from moving our bed against the wall and combining our clothes into one dresser, it has freed so much walking space in our 450 sq. foot apartment!  Next up, we’ll be storing our living room recliner so we can get a table.  I have been dying to have even just a two-person dining table.  Our apartment is tiny enough that currently every meal is eaten while sitting on our love seat in our living room because there isn’t anywhere else to sit.  We’ve decided just to store our recliner until we have a bigger space because a table is more important to us.  I think it will help our apartment feel much more like a home and will make it easier to swallow renting for another year.

WHAT I’M WATCHING/READING:

Watching:

Joshua and I are still working through “The Office.”  We are on Season 7 now, so we are coming along!  It’s such an addicting show, and way too easy to binge watch.  We also saw the new Star Wars movie over our break and you guys, it was so good!  I definitely enjoyed it more than “The Force Awakens.”  And the Porgs!!  Absolutely adorable.

Reading:

“Catalyst” by Kristin Smith.  This was a free book I got on my Nook, and to be honest, it’s not fantastic.  It’s not terrible and I’ve read much worse books, but it’s just not something I’m loving.  The main character is super full of herself, which bugs me.  I love strong female protagonists, but this girl isn’t necessarily “strong,” more of mouthy.  Apparently it’s the first book in a series, and I’m pretty sure I won’t be continuing the series.

I’m a slow reader.  I love reading, but I want to read absolutely every word.  It’s probably the writer in me that soaks it all in and analyzes it, so it takes time for me to get through a book.  Unfortunately, that means I didn’t finish my Goodreads challenge this year.  I got close though; I pledged 20 books and read 17.  Because I didn’t make 20 books and I know I’m working full-time plus taking college classes this year, I pledged 15 books for 2018.  It feels kind of lame, but I know I’ll feel worse if I don’t even get even close to a higher goal with school and everything.

WHAT I’M LISTENING TO:

Taylor Swift’s new album!  I asked for it for Christmas and my in-laws were wonderful enough to get it for me!  It’s a little different than I expected, but it’s fantastic!  So far, “Look What You Made Me Do” is still my favorite on the album, lol.

WHAT I’M WEARING:

The same as before (lots of leggings, high-waisted jeans, and boots) except I was given three new t-shirts for Christmas that I’m loving!  One is a Harry Potter shirt about Dobby which is just the BEST (big thanks to my mister!!), one is a Gilmore Girls shirt with the Luke’s diner logo, and the other is a three-quarter sleeve length shirt with the caption, “If only sarcasm burned calories,” which is so me.  I don’t know if it comes off in my blog, but in person I’m very sarcastic, lol, so it’s fantastic.

WHAT I’M DOING THIS WEEKEND:

We don’t have any plans yet.  We wanted to ride The Polar Express this Saturday like we did with my in-laws last year, but they got a group discount last year and I just saw it’s $120 for two tickets this year!  That’s definitely not something we can afford, so it’s a bummer.  Otherwise, we will probably take the weekend easy after our first week back to work post-holidays.

WHAT I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO NEXT MONTH:

I haven’t really thought that far ahead.  However, it is so crazy to me that Valentine’s Day is next month!  It was just Christmas so I can’t quite wrap my mind around that fact yet.  I guess I am looking forward to hopefully being settled in a routine with my school/work next month!

WHAT ELSE IS NEW:

I’ll be doing a New Year’s giveaway for three signed copies of my novel, “Where Shadows Lie” very shortly, so keep an eye out for that post to enter the giveaway if you want!

Also, Zelda has decided the seat of our rowing machine is her new spot since we rearranged the apartment.  She’s so funny!

Other than that, I can’t think of anything else that is new!  I feel like I’ve pretty much covered everything in this very lengthy post, lol.

Until next time,

-Tialla ❤