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Blizzard Weekend!

We have had SO. MUCH. SNOW over this past weekend.  Apparently it was a series of three major storms that all came through starting on Friday.  I think the snow started really early Friday morning, before the sun graced our part of the world, and I’m pretty sure it didn’t stop snowing the entire time until maybe Monday.  Even then, we still got a light sprinkling of snow on Tuesday.

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I feel so bad for all the college students with such tiny cars in our apartment complex.  Their cars were literally BURIED.  If I were them, I don’t even know what I’d begin to do.  I’d probably just walk everywhere, and that might actually be what several of them decided to do. 😉

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It’s scary enough for us to drive, and we have an SUV with 4-wheel drive.  So far we haven’t gotten stuck, but it’s definitely a fear of mine, especially when we have to park in the deep snow because it hasn’t been cleared yet.  (Our complex isn’t the best at snow removal.  Our stairs are icy and slippery, and though the driving areas of the parking lot are cleared, the plow blocks in the cars with the snow.  And it has taken days for any spots to get cleared.  Not to mention the half foot drop at the entrance from all the snow, ice, and slush.  But I digress.)

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I’m not sure what the total amount of snowfall in inches was, but it was LOTS, guys.  LOTS.

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Thankfully for us, both my husband and I quite like the snow.  No, I don’t love driving in it, in fact the prospect rather terrifies me after I spun out last winter.  Other than that, though, we love it.  The cold weather makes for perfect cuddling temperatures, the snow is beautiful, and it’s just kind of magical in its own way, especially when it starts falling in huge feathery flakes.  The world is quieted for a while.

(For long-time blog followers, you may recall when I was fifteen or so, I tried to “boycott” the snow and just hated cold weather all around.  That was mainly due to my shoulder injury {though I wouldn’t quite admit it then, I don’t think}, because pain and cold weather don’t mix well.  Time changes things, and this is certainly something I’ve had a change of heart about.  I love wintertime now!)

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One thing that I’m quite proud of, actually, is that hubby and I haven’t let the snow keep us from hitting the gym regularly.  Thankfully, our complex gym is right by our apartment, so it’s a very short walk.  However, it’s still rather daunting to walk outside in the feet of snow with only sneakers, yoga pants, a workout tank, and a workout jacket.  My poor husband was in even worse shape with shorts and a t-shirt.  However, we hurried to the gym and didn’t let the cold, snow, or ice stop us from getting our fitness in.  And honestly, the walk back to our apartment was refreshingly cold.

As the snow continued to come down on Saturday, Joshua and I spent the entire day with a Sherlock marathon.  It was his first time watching the show and it was so much fun!  Due to the continued snowfall, dangerous roads, and snow removal issues, church was cancelled the next day, so I made us a pot of oatmeal for breakfast, which we enjoyed with coffee and more Sherlock.  Later that afternoon, we braved the weather to get food for the week (our empty fridge let us know that could not be postponed!), stopped in at a cafe for a chai latte, and safely made it home again.

As it was still snowing on Monday, my husband was able to come home early from work, which made for a wonderfully relaxing afternoon!

Other than the slight dusting of snow on Tuesday, it has been sunny since, which is giving everyone a chance to actually dig themselves out.  All in all, it was a very happy weekend and the city looks beautiful with snow-covered everything.

Until next time,

-Tialla ❤

The Polar Express!

This past Saturday, my father-in-law’s company provided all of us with tickets to ride on the Polar Express train in Williams, AZ.  When we first heard about the opportunity earlier in the week, I must say I was overly excited.  Though I’ve lived in Flagstaff for going on seventeen years, I’ve never been on the Polar Express, and I’d heard many wonderful stories about it.  Not only are the book and the movie both classics, the story is timeless.  With Christmas cheer, we carpooled with my husband’s family down to Williams and boarded the Polar Express at dusk.  A friend offered to take a photo of all of us together:

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I loved how this train was modern, yet retained some old-time charm.  For example, the wooden frames around the windows, the pull shades, and the luggage racks strewn with Christmas lights.  The slightly rustic feel to the train helped bring me into the story with little difficulty!

After everyone boarded and a few instructions from the “Chef” in our train car, we were off!  The train ride is only about an hour round trip, so the fun started immediately with delicious cookies and hot chocolate.  My sister-in-law took a photo of Joshua and me when we were back in our own seats:

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Before long, the ticket inspector came through, just like in the movie, and stopped by each seat to punch enough holes to form the letter “P” in each ticket.  He was hilarious and played the part quite well.

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From the start of the journey, Christmas music was played through the speakers.  We passed through the “magic tunnel” (honestly, that was a little disappointing…it was more like a bridge with flashing lights), and just after that, they began to read the book, “The Polar Express,” out loud.  To help us all keep up with the story, the “Chef” passed up and down the aisle to show the illustrations in the book to all the passengers.  Not long after the story was finished, we learned that we were coming up on the North Pole.

I think that they created a cute setup with the lit buildings on either side of the train, Mrs. Claus reading, Santa and an elf waiting out by the reindeer, as well as a beautifully illuminated Christmas tree.  However, I did expect at least some fake snow and more elves, so it was missing the “wow” factor of the magical North Pole.

When we came to the end of the North Pole, the train slowed, began to reverse (apparently there was “caribou” on the tracks), and when we passed by the reindeer again, Santa had disappeared.  Of course this had all the kids whirring with excitement.  The Chef soon informed us that Santa was on the train and we had to sing, “Here Comes Santa Claus” as he visited everyone on each car.  When he did reach our car, there was a cacophony of shouts, giggles, and laughter.  He gave each person a bell with a ribbon (which we may or may not have given as a toy to our kitten *cough, cough*), and the train ride was finished off with more Christmas carols and dancing in the aisle.

We had to commemorate the train ride with a selfie!

All in all, I loved it!  It was such a fun way to finish off the holidays, especially since after January 1st it feels rather like going cold-turkey, and it’s always a little sad to me.  This was a wonderful way to bid adieu to the holidays until later this year!  I’m sure the fun was in part to experiencing the train ride with my in-laws.  It was simply a wonderful time with all of us laughing, joking with each other, singing along, making fun of Santa (shh, don’t tell), making fun of each other, and more.  I am so blessed to have the amazing in-laws that I do!

If you ever have the chance to take a ride on the Polar Express at Christmastime, I’d say go for it!  It was a fun experience, and honestly, everyone got into it–adults and children alike!  There was just something about it that brought everyone together.

-Tialla ❤

The Coconino County Fair

The county fair rolled into town this past weekend!  My family and I have gone to the fair every year for as long as I can remember.  It’s been a first-weekend-of-September tradition.  However, this year, Joshua and I were able to experience it together as a married couple!  Joshua has lived here in Flagstaff for a couple of years, but he hadn’t gone to the fair until now, so I felt rather honored to be the one to show him around.

The fair lasts four days and though my family and I would typically go on the first day (also known as “School’s Day”–when all the schools took field trips to the fair, including homeschoolers), Joshua and I didn’t end up going until the last day.  We also didn’t go until the afternoon, which unfortunately was fairly close to the end of the fair, so a lot of booths were already packing up.  However, it was still lots of fun.

(I forgot to take pictures other than on Snapchat, so you’ll have to forgive me.) 😉

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Upon entering the fair, we immediately headed for the food, because let’s be honest–that’s the best part of the fair.  We both LOVE funnel cakes, which was actually one of the first things we talked about when we initially began dating, haha!  We requested this funnel cake with powdered sugar, hot fudge, and caramel, which was fantastic! (As a side note, it was a bit of a breezy day, which meant I ended up with powdered sugar all over my shirt, pants, skin, and purse!  Haha!  Ah, the joys of powdered sugar.)

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And of course, what is a county fair without cotton candy and kettle corn?  Cotton candy was really just for the nostalgia, but the caramel kettle corn was delicious!  Sweet and salty!

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All in all, it was a wonderful time!  We walked through the food vendors, then continued onto the booths and exhibits as I pointed out various places I had entered items when I was younger.  We didn’t have a chance to go on rides as they are very expensive, but it was still fun showing them to Joshua!

Do you enjoy attending county fairs?  What is your favorite part of the fair?

-Tialla

Our Honeymoon!

We were blessed to have an absolutely fabulous honeymoon.  Though I must say, Joshua and I are both introverts and huge “home bodies.”  Thus, the more adventurous part of our honeymoon–aka, the parts with out of state/out of country traveling–definitely had us wishing for home, even with how much fun we had.

Anyway, our honeymoon started in Sedona, Arizona.  Sedona is an absolutely beautiful place here in Arizona, so if you ever have a chance to visit, I highly recommend it!  The town is surrounded with beautiful red rocks formations and gorgeous valleys.  However, there are some really weird things about Sedona as well.  Such as the belief in vortexes is huge, the amount of palm readers and mystical shops is surprising, and everything is overpriced because, well, tourists.  We knew about all this before deciding to spend the first few days of our honeymoon in Sedona.  However, Sedona is still beautiful and it’s a really cute town, so we planned on it, and we don’t regret it!  In fact, it was our favorite part of the honeymoon.  But Sedona does have another quirk we discovered: everything, literally EVERYTHING is closed at 9, or maybe 9:30 at the latest.  Even Taco Bell, Burger King, KFC–everything.  So weird, and a little unhelpful when you and your newlywed husband want a late night snack.  The only business we found open was a Bashas’ grocery store, so at least we had that!

We also got a free car wash when we drove up with our “Just married” decorations.  It only helped us love Sedona even more!

Here are some photos from our Sedona adventures….

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We saw Tarzan! Honestly, I don't remember much from it, though.

We saw Tarzan! I don’t remember much from it, though.

 

Dinner at "Golden Goose Grill" which was delicious and service was phenomenal! We had the entire patio to ourselves. :D

Dinner at “Golden Goose Grill” which was delicious and the service was phenomenal! We had the entire patio to ourselves. 😀

 

Starbucks of course. One of my favorite photos of us. <3

Starbucks of course. One of my favorite photos of us. ❤

Our next stop on our honeymoon was the Flagstaff train station!  We took the train from Flag to LA!  It was SO exciting.  We loved it, and are totally planning on taking the train again when we want to travel somewhere out of state.  Way easier than dealing with airports!

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We got a sleeper roomette, which made it so much easier for the overnight trip than sitting upright in coach. ;)

We got a sleeper roomette, which made it so much easier for the overnight trip than sitting upright in coach. 😉

 

Once in LA, we took a cab to the cruise ship port!  As first-time cruisers, we were both very confused about where to go, who to talk to, or what to do, and people seemed very reluctant to help.  That was discouraging, but we finally figured it out!

Also, the Queen Mary was right next to our ship in LA.  If we wanted to do another “cruise,” I think we would just go on the Queen Mary because it is stationary!  We had fun on the cruise (the unlimited food and free room service being the best part), but the motion of the ship got to us (not making us sick, just throwing us “off” all the time), and it was too crowded/too rowdy.  It was a party cruise for sure, haha!  And we are too introverted for that. 😉

The Queen Mary

The Queen Mary

First glimpse of our ship!

First glimpse of our ship!

 

The interior of our ship was very much into bronze, gold, and LOTS of colors. A little dated in my opinion, but maybe that's just because it was headed to Mexico!

The interior of our ship was very much into bronze, gold, and LOTS of colors. A little dated in my opinion, but I suppose they were going for a “festive” look since the ship was headed to Mexico!

 

Pano of the very top deck!

Pano of the very top deck!

 

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My favorite part of our room would definitely be the portholes and window seat!

My favorite part of our stateroom would definitely be the portholes and window seat!

 

Pano of Mexico!

Pano of Mexico!

 

We definitely had fun! It was a bit windy so my hubby had to hold my hat. <3

We definitely had fun! It was a bit windy so my hubby had to hold my hat. ❤

 

All dressed up for fancy night!

All dressed up for fancy night!

 

Our waiter was so nice on the last night of our cruise!  He had this small cake made for us!

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We had quite a gap between disembarking from our cruise ship and catching our train back to Flag, so we took a cab to an outlet mall.

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Yep, on our honeymoon, we joined all the little kids and saw The Secret Life of Pets. With all of our luggage still with us, because there was no where to put it. The movie was cute!

Yep, on our honeymoon, we joined all the little kids and saw The Secret Life of Pets. With all of our luggage still with us, because there was nowhere to put it. The movie was cute!

 

After the movie we walked outside for a while, found a Barnes and Noble, and browsed there for a bit.

 

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The view from the cab.

The view from the cab.

 

And the train ride back to Flagstaff!

And the train ride back to Flagstaff!

 

After we got back to Flagstaff, we still had another week set aside for our honeymoon, giving us two weeks total.  Unfortunately, Joshua did have to work half-days that week, and even though we didn’t like being separated for that, it was helpful to have something for a paycheck. 🙂  All in all, it was lots of fun, and a wonderful time to just relax with each other.  We definitely miss those days of spending every moment together without the need to go to work or anything, but we enjoyed it while it lasted!

-Tialla

We Decided on Forever

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Hello friends!

Back at the beginning of the year, I mentioned my boyfriend and how I feel so thankful for him.  Well, God has blessed us further by showing us we are meant to be together forever.  Yes, we are engaged! ❤ ❤ ❤

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Joshua proposed to me a month ago, and I honestly can’t believe it’s already been a month!  This has been the absolutely busiest and craziest month of my life!  We have accomplished SO MUCH with wedding planning…I don’t even know how we have done it all, but it’s coming along swimmingly!  Our wedding date is July 10, 2016, so just long enough to complete all the preparations.  However, thanks to a couple handy checklists (specifically a wonderfully helpful app called The Knot), we’ve been able to get tons of tasks accomplished already and not get too stressed in the process.  Yes, it’s taken about a month to have a chance to breathe, but it’s been a fun ride. 🙂

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I have had a few people ask about the proposal, so I thought I would include that here if you are interested in knowing! ❤ I was sitting down to watch a T.V. show with Joshua, and he said he would “be right back,” and left the room.  A few minutes later, he came back with a Hershey’s chocolate mug with a letter taped to it.  When he handed it to me, I removed the letter and as I opened it, realized it was a long, adorably sweet and romantic love letter from my mister.  It took me a few minutes to read, and once I had finished with a smile on my face and my heart overflowing with love, I said, “Aww,” while reaching over to give him a hug.  We hugged for a moment, but then he said, “And…” with a grin on his face, knelt on one knee, opened a ring box and asked, “Will you marry me?”

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It was my own fairytale. ❤

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Anyway, I just thought I would update all of you, especially my longtime readers!  We greatly appreciate your thoughts, prayers, and well-wishes as we continue to prepare for the big day, and as we begin married life together.

Much Love,

Tialla

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New Writing Project?!

If you have been following my blog for a while, you probably know that I took a break from writing after publishing my second book in June of 2015.  Simply put, I was exhausted.  That book required so much from me, for so long.  I needed a reprieve.  I needed a chance to just read what other people had written without being concerned with my own work.  So I took that break, and it was glorious!

However, now that I am refreshed and it has been about eight months, I’m back to easing myself into the writing world again.  Because of my fresh start in writing again, I thought it might be fun to film a vlog to document it!  So here you go, my video explaining all about this new writing project I’m working on, and some struggles I have been having with it. 🙂