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 ❤



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:


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.  :/


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.


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.



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.


“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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


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 ❤

Black & White Photo Challenge | Day 7

It’s already the last day of this challenge!  I have no idea how it’s already been over a week.  I decided to postpone my Day 7 photo by one day because of Christmas and I wanted to post our Christmas card.  Unfortunately, on Christmas night I ended up in the ER with problems with my throat & epiglottis, so yesterday was rough for us.  I have lots of meds now that I saw my regular doctor today and I’m working on getting better.  I hope you all enjoyed this tag and had a fabulous Christmas!

Thanks to the lovely Rossy for tagging me.


  • 7 days
  • 7 black and white photos
  • No people
  • No explanations
  • Challenge someone new everyday



Black & White Photo Challenge | Day 6

Merry Christmas Eve!!  I cannot believe tomorrow is already Christmas!  December flew by way too fast.   Here’s day six of the black & white photo challenge!

Thanks to the lovely Rossy for tagging me.


  • 7 days
  • 7 black and white photos
  • No people
  • No explanations
  • Challenge someone new everyday

I am by no means a photographer, so this challenge will simply be photos of things that meant something to me, without skill.  ❤

I challenge anyone who wants to participate in this tag. 😉


Black & White Photo Challenge | Day 5

Welcome to the lovely weekend, aka the best part of the week, lol.   It’s day five of the black & white photo challenge!

Thanks to the lovely Rossy for tagging me.


  • 7 days
  • 7 black and white photos
  • No people
  • No explanations
  • Challenge someone new everyday

I am by no means a photographer, so this challenge will simply be photos of things that meant something to me, without skill.  ❤

I challenge anyone who wants to participate in this tag. 😉