Soulmate Tattoos

Two weeks ago, my husband and I got matching tattoos on our arms!  After researching and asking around, we settled on Birch Avenue Tattoo, which is praised all-around as the best tattoo parlor in Flagstaff.

Before I get into the actual story, I want to note that yes, Joshua & I are Christians, and we are okay with tattoos.  I know a lot of people, especially Christians, have problems with tattoos and that’s okay.  We just happen to like them.  🙂

Joshua and I have both been interested in getting tattoos for a while now.  I hadn’t seriously considered getting one until Joshua & I started dating, and after we got married, I had hoped to get one for my 21st birthday.  I was going to get a paw print on my leg in memory of my sweet dog who passed away in 2014.  Unfortunately, we weren’t able to make it work due to not having the money, so we put it on the back burner until we could allot funds for it.

I’m not sure when it dawned on us, but at some point in the last few months, we thought it would be pretty cool (and sweet) for our first tattoos to match, as well as to get them at the same time to share the experience.  It took us forever to settle on the design, size, and placement because I’m extremely picky when it comes to ink being etched into my skin for the rest of my life, lol.  It needed to be something I really wanted, something that felt perfect; a design meant to capture our marriage.

As you can probably imagine, it took a lot of searching “couple’s tattoos” to find it.  😉  This is what happens when you have OCD and you’re unfortunately a perfectionist.

Joshua had a far easier time deciding, giving a few suggestions and then trying to help me narrow down what I wanted.  He was much more easy-going with the whole process than me, haha.  Finally, after months of searching, contemplation, going back and forth, etc, we finally found the design.  A few more conversations decided how we wanted to customize it as well as the placement.

We settled on two hearts joined by a cross integrated in the heart pattern, with the verse Matthew 19:6 written inside the bigger heart.  If you don’t know, the verse says:

“So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Mt. 19:6, ESV)

When we showed up the next week at our consultation appointment, our tattoo artist easily went with our ideas for the design, but then asked us if we wanted to do it that day.  Though I was excited, I was completely shocked, because I was not emotionally prepared to permanently change my skin that day.  Even though I wanted the tattoo, it was still overwhelming to suddenly know it was actually happening and my skin would be forever altered.  I don’t know if this makes any sense, because I still wanted the tattoo…it’s simply that, for things like this, I have to emotionally prepare myself.  Without being mentally prepared for going through with something big, I tend to get overwhelmed.   That’s just who I am.

We went ahead with it, because we knew we wanted it, we were there anyway, and he had an opening, so it didn’t make sense to come back another time.  Also, parking is terrible downtown with exclusively parallel parking, which meant we’d already hunted for a spot and fed the meter.  If we could avoid coming back again anytime soon, we would.

After we filled out our paperwork, confirmed the design with our artist, and agreed Joshua would go first (I was still freaking out a little bit), we headed to the back.

Joshua actually had an easy time with the pain, barely wincing and talking through the whole thing.  It didn’t bother him very much and he made it look quite doable.  In half an hour, it was done and looked incredible!  He was (and still is) so excited about it.  I’m pretty sure it made his week, if not month.

When it came to my turn, unfortunately, I was caught off guard because the pain affected me way more than Joshua.  I’m still surprised because generally, I have a higher pain tolerance than him, since he has zero pain tolerance.  (Or at least that’s what we thought.)  Yet, I had a pretty hard time with the pain.  You know how it feels when hot oil in a pan pops, splattering your skin?  That’s how it felt to me, except constantly.

It wasn’t fun, but in retrospect, I can say it was worth it.  It didn’t last very long, only about twenty minutes, and the permanence of the design is definitely worth it!  Even the first week of tenderness was worth it, and seems comparatively short when looking back on it.

We love them.  It was so nice to experience it together!  It really warms my heart to think about how we not only got the same design as our first tattoos, but we were there for each other when experiencing it for the first time, and we’ve been able to support each other through the healing process.

We are already looking forward to our next tattoos, and we’re pretty sure we want to make it a tradition to get our future tattoos together, not the same designs, but at the same appointment to make it just as fun.

Until next time! 🙂

-Tialla ❤

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Snowbowl’s Sky Ride

Joshua had a four-day weekend this past weekend since he works at a school and they were off for fall break!  Personally, I never knew fall break was a thing, but I was also homeschooled, so that’s probably why.  😉 Either way, four days off meant lots of fun for us!

We aren’t morning people, so our excitement toward days off always centers around sleeping in.  We plan adventures for the rest of the day too, but the most welcome part is getting some extra sleep.  (No matter how early we go to bed during the week, it just doesn’t make a difference in the mornings for us.  Yay for the weekend!)

This is how our weekend schedule looked:

  • Friday: The Arizona Snowbowl Scenic Sky Ride
  • Saturday: Tattoo Consultation (post soon to come on that!)
  • Sunday: Church & work (for me)
  • Monday: Hiking, pizza, & Dancing with the Stars.  (Anyone else watching this season?!  Can we just talk about how Victoria can dance when she can’t feel her legs? #Mindblown.)

Today I’ll be talking about our adventures at The Arizona Snowbowl Scenic Sky Ride!  First though, I want to mention that our Monday plans didn’t work out, because Sunday night I got an awful blistered cold sore, which made me feel miserable.  Instead, we slept the day away, made French Toast Casserole, did homework for class, showered, grabbed Starbucks and pizza for dinner, and then watched DWTS and The Good Doctor.  (Also an incredible show so far.  I am loving it and Freddie Highmore is a brilliant actor.)  FYI, don’t drink caffeinated Starbucks at 8 PM.  We basically didn’t sleep that night.  Yay for more coffee the next day, lol. 😉

We started off Friday with donuts.  Sometime after we first got married, we discovered the joy of getting donuts on the weekend, and now it’s one of our favorite things to do (and the hardest thing to say “no” to when I’m trying to eat healthier/watch calories).  My favorite donuts are apple fritters and we discovered that our grocery store bakery also has blueberry fritters, so I decided to try one.  They are still good, but not as good as apple in my opinion.

Anyway, Snowbowl is a ski lodge here in Flagstaff that also offers scenic sky rides up the mountain during summer and autumn.  I always love going on the chairlift in autumn because of all the changing leaves and beautiful colors.

Being on the mountain is breathtaking, especially when coming back down.  The view is expansive and it feels like we can see all of Arizona.  In a fairly childish way, I always feel like I’m flying because the trees are at a steep angle on the mountain slope, typically putting us above them.

My poor husband doesn’t do so well with heights, but he still came with me, which melted my heart.  I made sure to encourage him by letting him know at the highest point, we were only fifty feet above the ground.  If we fell, at most we’d injure our legs right?  That’s at least what I told him, and it seemed to help him relax a little and enjoy the ride more.

When we were getting on the chairlift, I was pretty nervous because I read it was supposed to be “winter-like” conditions with strong winds and 20 degrees Fahrenheit at the top of the mountain, and I had left my jacket in the car.  Turns out, the top was actually warmer than the ride itself, with barely even a breeze, so it worked out!  Coming down was colder due to riding against the breeze, but it was tolerable when I cuddled against Joshua with his arm around me. 😉

The elevation at the top of the mountain is 11,500 ft, and even though I’ve lived in Flagstaff at 7,000 feet nearly my whole life (therefore, my lungs are accustomed to breathing thinner air), I still felt the effects of far less oxygen.  It wasn’t anything major, I was just trying to read a lookout sign aloud and ran out of breath within basically one sentence, lol.

Joshua and I had a good laugh about it and discussed our differences with how  he didn’t get cold at all on the ride (he’s from Alaska, so he’s accustomed to the cold), but I had an easier time at the top of the mountain (because he lived in a sea-level valley in Alaska and I’ve lived in the mountains).

We both took pictures of each other at the top and since we aren’t photographers in any sense of the word, we are both dark against the background.  Oh well, it’s still a fun memory.

I was kind of hoping some of the people sitting at a picnic table nearby would offer to take our picture together, but no one did…they just watched.  I guess I could have asked someone, but I always feel like I’m inconveniencing them.  #ShyPeopleProbs

I realized just now that I didn’t get any pictures of the actual autumn trees with the changing leaves.  I was pretty nervous about dropping my phone on the ride, so I suppose that’s why!

The rest of Friday continued to be fantastic.  When we got back down off the mountain, we ordered takeout gyros from a Mediterranean restaurant called Pita Jungle, stopped home to drop off some things, then picked up sodas and enjoyed a Friday movie night at Joshua’s parents’ house.

Do you have any kind of sky ride or scenic chairlift near you?

-Tialla ❤

My 22nd Birthday!

My 22nd birthday was just a couple of weeks ago on September 13th.  September is always such an exciting month to me because it starts with the county fair, continues with my birthday, and ends with the first day of autumn and fall weather creeping in.  This year, the fall chill has come on pretty suddenly, so it’s been a bit of a shock because it went from being too hot for pants three weeks ago to suddenly too cold for shorts and there’s a definite need to keep a hoodie on hand at all times.  I happen to be that strange, quite solitary blogger who loves cold weather, so I’m loving every moment of this!

On a random note, I find it funny to people watch at this time of year because there are consistently three categories of people once autumn weather hits:

  • Those who have fully accepted autumn and are decked out in cardigans, jeans, boots, and even the occasion scarf
  • Those who are still in summer mode with t-shirts, tank tops, shorts, and sandals
  • Those who fall somewhere in the middle with jeans and sandals or shoes (but not boots), and perhaps a t-shirt but with some kind of jacket or sweater.

I definitely fall in that middle group right now, but I can’t wait for full-on fall outfits of leggings, boots, scarves, and oversized shirts and sweaters!

Anyway.  I turned 22, so how about a little celebratory Taylor Swift? Yes, I’m fully aware this is about as basic as I can get, and yes, I’m shameless.  How often is it that a popular song is about your particular age? 😉

***

My birthday fell on a Wednesday, but it felt like it started on Tuesday.  Right after a night class my husband and I are taking together on Tuesday nights, Joshua started excitedly counting down the hours to midnight.  He reminded me of the time every half hour or so as my birthday neared, which I thought was adorable and hilarious because he definitely seemed more excited for my birthday than I was.  He had taken my birthday off work, so we stayed up late and he insisted we do whatever I wanted.  I chose s’mores and reading (#lifeoftheparty) since I’m a huge bookworm.  It was honestly an amazing end to 21/beginning to 22.  When midnight hit, Joshua immediately wished me happy birthday, we pondered what life would be like in another year, and made some goals for what we want to accomplish before my next birthday.  And of course listened to Taylor Swift’s “22.” 😉

Around 2AM, we fell asleep, but as I was still excited for my birthday, I woke at 9:45AM and told my husband I couldn’t sleep any longer.  He wasn’t quite ready to wake up yet, so I forced myself to wait about another hour (this was still early for us…we aren’t morning people at all, so when we sleep in, we sleep for hours).

We began the day with checking all my notifications of lovely birthday wishes, and then showered and we were off to my requested breakfast: a local diner here in Flagstaff called Galaxy Diner.  It’s decorated to resemble the 50s, with all-day breakfast and amazing prices.  We both got a hot chocolate, Joshua ordered a steak omelette, and I ordered pancakes with eggs and hash browns.

After breakfast, Joshua was ecstatic to take me to a surprise he had planned.  This was something he planned weeks before and usually I’m great at guessing surprises, but I didn’t guess this one!  He was so intent on me not discovering the surprise on the way, he wanted to blindfold me in the car.  (I convinced him that instead I could just keep my eyes closed because I spent a lot of time on my makeup that day, lol.)  However, he insisted I keep my eyes closed even when we got out of the car and walked down a sidewalk for a bit.  I definitely wasn’t too keen on that part, haha!

Finally, he told me I could open my eyes, and I realized we were at my favorite bookshop!  It’s called “Bright Side Bookshop” and it’s in the heart of downtown Flagstaff.  It is the cutest little shop that has super great titles for typical chain bookstore prices.  It is extremely well organized with labels for literally every shelf and islands with cutesy things like totes designed like library cards, bookish knee-high socks, and collectors’ items.  When we walked in, Joshua told me I could pick out whatever books I wanted. #husbandgoals

I browsed through all the bookshelves, but most seriously looked at the Young Adult section–my favorite genre.  Make it a fantasy Young Adult and I’m sold.  I also spent a bit of time in the younger readers’ section and found the most beautiful copy of “Alice in Wonderland.”  Longtime blog readers may recall that I have a deep love for Alice. 😉 This particular copy caught my eye because there’s just something about a leather-bound book that makes my heart flutter with joy and simply feels magical.

I ended up going with two books.  One is a YA dystopian hardcover titled, “All Rights Reserved” by Gregory Scott Katsoulis and the second book is a YA fantasy paperback titled, “Ink and Bone” by Rachel Caine.

After the bookstore, we ran by the library to pick up a movie I had on hold, then stopped by Starbucks to get my free birthday drink.  If you aren’t part of their rewards program, you totally should be because you not only earn free rewards, but you get a free drink of your choice (and any size) on your birthday!  I ordered the Salted Caramel Frappuccino since I look forward to that every September and it just came out!

We headed to the mall with our drinks because I wanted another ear piercing and I’ve gotten all my piercings thus far from Claire’s. 😉  I already had two piercings in each earlobe and one in my left cartilage, but I chose to get a third in each earlobe.  I love them!  They didn’t hurt at all and recovery has been great, thankfully!  I had trouble with my second earlobe piercings randomly bleeding and getting infected despite my constant care, and my cartilage took over a year to fully heal, so I’m grateful these have been easier so far.

After the piercings, my husband took me to an entertainment exchange store/bookstore here in Flagstaff called Bookmans, where I used store credit to purchase the Grease soundtrack (any other Grease lovers reading my blog?), and a Michael Jackson album I didn’t yet have.  I already have multiple copies of the album’s songs, but I’m a collector of every MJ album I can find, so I scooped it up.  #HappyBirthdayToMe #TooManyHashtagsInOnePost?

After that, mister and I headed home to take some birthday pictures at sunset on a bridge in our apartment complex.

We then headed to our dinner reservation at Olive Garden, where we took advantage of the BOGO to have a meal for the next night!  I ordered their ravioli to eat in the restaurant with a Dr. Pepper and their spaghetti for the to-go meal.  Joshua ordered their baked ziti for in the restaurant and ravioli for the to-go meal.  We loved all of it, and on top of the delicious meal, our waiter was the best either of us had ever had in terms of customer service and friendliness, so that made the experience even better!

After Olive Garden, we drove over to Joshua’s parents’ house for presents (one of which is the hoodie I’ve been keeping with me now that it’s chilly, lol), ice cream cake, wine, and sparklers.  When I met Joshua, I was introduced to having ice cream cake for every birthday and I love it.  Ice cream cake has always been my favorite, but I guess growing up, I just forgot it was an option.  It’s a tradition for everyone in the family and it’s the best!  Spending time with my in-laws was such a fun way to wrap up my birthday outings.

Back home, I opened hubby’s presents to me.  He gave me “Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story” (which happens to be my favorite in the Anne of Green Gables trilogy and the one I was missing!), the new-ish Pentatonix album, and a mug for bookworms that’s totally my favorite of all our mugs now.

We ended the night with staying up until midnight playing MarioKart, which we haven’t done for a long time, so it was a blast!  I have always loved playing MarioKart, so it was just the best to finish out my birthday with it.

I can honestly say that it was one of the best birthdays I have ever had, and it’s all thanks to my sweet husband!  I feel so blessed to spend my birthdays with the one my soul loves. ❤  As part of my birthday month, we also took advantage of $5 movies here at our movie theater earlier during Labor Day weekend, and next week we will be heading up on the Snowbowl Sky Ride to see the changing colors of all the beautiful trees on the mountain.

And that was my birthday!  How do you like to celebrate your birthday?

-Tialla ❤

A Night of Music, Rides, and Food!

It’s taken me a little bit to get around to blogging about it, but back during the first weekend of September, the annual Coconino County Fair rolled into town.  I have attended this fair every year for as long as I can remember and this year was my second year going with my husband!  (See this post for our first year at the fair together.)

Last year, we made the mistake of going on Labor Day, which was the last day of the fair.  Most of the vendors were already packed up and even though we still had fun together, it was a bit of a let down.  This year, we intentionally planned to go on the second day, and at night instead of daytime!  I had never gone to the fair at night before, but I’d heard it was much more exciting with all the lights and music.  I can now say I didn’t hear wrong. 🙂  It was fairly sizzling with energy and excitement!  We had such a blast with the nightlife, and it was hands-down the best fair experience we’ve ever had!

The only downside for going on Saturday night was the sheer amount of people there.  That was definitely part of what contributed to the energy and made it so exciting, but at times it felt slightly claustrophobic when we were elbow to elbow with everyone as we walked around.  Joshua and I are introverts and we both felt a little overwhelmed at times with all the people.  Still, it was totally worth it!

We saw the band Snake Oil, who were absolutely phenomenal.  I mostly took videos with Snapchat, which I have yet to figure out how to embed onto the blog.  If anyone has suggestions for how to embed Snapchat videos on WordPress, I’d love to hear them!  🙂  Snake Oil is an 80s rock cover band, and incredibly talented at that.  The lead singer dresses up as various people, such as Ozzy Osborne, Steve Perry, Freddie Mercury, and more.  They were absolutely mind blowing with their talent and how they completely embodied all the bands’ sounds and style.  Joshua and I are both huge fans of 80s rock bands, so naturally, we had the time of our lives.

After the concert, we headed off to the rides.  Both Joshua and I aren’t super great with rides, as we both didn’t have the greatest experiences as kids with them.  Still, we had quite a bit of fun and mostly just enjoyed the experience and the memories we were making by spending this time together.  Every moment with him is my favorite moment, no matter what we’re doing. ❤

When we finished up the rides, we decided it was time for food, which was probably what both of us were most excited for.  There’s just something about fair food that can’t compare–it’s totally the best!  We’d been saving most of our money for fair food, so we definitely didn’t hold back.  I got a hotdog, and Joshua got a chili dog, and we split a large carton of fries with ketchup and mayo.  (You probably think that’s gross, but that’s okay, we love it, lol.)  We also split a funnel cake with powdered sugar, chocolate, and whipped cream, and then before we headed out for the night, we picked up a bag of cotton candy and a chocolate dipped marshmallow on a stick.

Like I said, we didn’t hold back on the food and we loved every bit of it.  It’s not that often we can indulge in treats like this!

All in all, it was such a wonderful night and always a fun precursor to my birthday on September 13th.  A post soon to come on that!

Do you attend a county fair?  If so, what is your favorite part of it?

Until next time,

Tialla ❤

 

Introducing Princess Zelda Newman

I realized something just a few days ago: I never shared on here about how my husband and I adopted a kitten back in November!  At that time, I was pretty involved in writing my book for NaNoWriMo, so I guess it just slipped my mind to share about her adoption.  I did share about it on my socials, so that probably also contributed to it!  So without further ado….

Before my husband and I even got married, we both knew that we would be adopting a pet as soon as we could.  We both grew up with pets and we love dogs and cats alike, so we knew we’d adopt a pet before too long.  When we first got married, we decided to push it off a while because our apartment required a $500 pet deposit and $30 monthly pet rent.  However, only four months into our marriage, both of us found ourselves really wanting a pet.  We are both huge animal lovers, so it was really hard to not have a lovable pet at home.  At that point, we realized we couldn’t get a dog since both of us were gone nearly all day, six days a week.  Also, I’m not so eager to housebreak a puppy at this moment, lol.  With that, we decided a cat would be our first pet.

Still, we pushed it off because we just didn’t know if we could afford the pet deposit.  However, one night when I was scrolling through Facebook, I saw that a friend of mine needed to find a new home for her cat.  I shared this with my husband (who, I must say, is the one out of the two of us who will jump on any opportunity if he can, haha), and before we knew it, we were considering adopting this cat.  We soon realized we definitely couldn’t afford the pet deposit combined with getting this cat since this particular furry friend was in Colorado and that would be an expensive drive for us.  That one kitty sparked our desire to adopt a cat, though, and we soon began searching the local shelter websites.  (We very strongly believe in “adopt don’t shop.”  There are so many sweet animals just waiting for homes in the shelters!)  We did some research on which shelter was best (in Flagstaff, Second Chance won out slightly over the Humane Society).

By the end of the week, we were inquiring with Second Chance on their spayed female kittens (we knew female was a better bet considering my husband’s crazy stories of the messes made from his boy cat years ago).  We also had to look for a certain age because our apartment requires kittens already be litter box trained.  There was a particular gorgeous kitten online that caught our eye, but we learned she was in quarantine because there was some kind of breakout in the kitten room.  A week later, though, she was free to visit and she’d never actually been sick–just protected from it.  The moment I first petted her, she snuggled in closer to my hand, melted our hearts, and we knew she was the kitten for us.  We walked out of the shelter with her and it’s been a crazy adventure ever since!

We named her Princess Zelda Newman.  (For those of you who don’t know, my married name is Newman, but I’ve already published under the name Tialla Rising, so I decided to keep it on the blog.)  She came with the name Lady Lannister, but we aren’t fans of Game of Thrones and especially not Lady Lannister (just…eew).  We settled on Zelda, though, because we are both huge nerds and The Legend of Zelda was my husband’s favorite game growing up.  Plus, we knew undoubtedly that this cat would be a princess.  😉

To be honest, it has been more frustrating than I realized to have a cat (I never had one growing up, only dogs).  She has ripped up our carpet–post on that coming soon–chewed through many things, including the Christmas tree lights, my husband’s headphones, and our decorative fairy lights.  Still, puppies damage lots of things too, so I’ve reminded myself that it’s just part of having a pet.  However, it’s also been more enjoyable than I ever anticipated!  She is so funny, always has us laughing, and I’ve come to realize that cats just have the greatest personalities.  She talks to us all the time, especially if we get up “too early” for her.  She’s adorable and melts my heart when she shows us she loves us.  Whoever said cats don’t show love has definitely never owned one!  Our little girl cries until we pick her up and cuddle her, she always has to have attention when we come home, she cuddles with us every night in bed, and she routinely follows us wherever we go in the apartment, just because she wants to be close.  She is just the cutest and most adorable little cuddly thing ever.

We just celebrated her first birthday in July, so our baby girl is no longer a kitten.  She’s bigger than we expected with weighing in at twelve pounds now!  I’m not sure how she’s gotten so big, considering she doesn’t eat more than 1/2 cup of food a day, and it’s not an auto-feeder.  In fact, she chooses to eat less than what the bag says to feed her, yet she’s still grown into a pretty large cat!  As with most cats, she panics when her food bowl is nearing empty.  The moment she can see the bottom of her bowl, no matter how many pieces of food are still left, she starts crying until we fill it.  Sometimes she is so convinced she’s starving that our drama queen even rolls on the floor.

Yep, she keeps us laughing.

Apparently she already has a boyfriend.  😉  The neighborhood boy cat likes to visit her at the window. Feline Romeo & Juliet ❤

Anyway, now you know all about our Princess and so if I mention her in future posts, you won’t be lost on the fact that we adopted a furbaby. ❤

Obviously we love her lots and can’t help but take pictures of all her cuteness. ❤

Our One-Year Anniversary

I cannot believe we have already been married for a whole year!  Where has the time gone?  It seems like we just got home from our honeymoon a couple of weeks ago, and here we are, a full year of wedded bliss under our belts.  It’s amazing me to think we have already experienced all seasons and holidays of the year together as a married couple.  Hot and dry Arizona summers, brisk, colorful, exciting, but short autumn, bitter cold, snowy, and too short winter, and windy but barely noticeable spring.  I always feel like spring here in Flagstaff is kind of a mixture of winter hanging on for longer than it should and summer starting too early.  Basically cold snaps and hot flashes.

Anyway, enough about the weather.  Funny how my mind comprehends time past by reviewing the seasons.

As I posted on Facebook for our anniversary: One year ago, I married my best friend and we began this journey of wedded bliss. We have grown so much closer through this year of marriage and it’s pretty incredible to me to look back at all the experiences we have had, both wonderful and difficult. People say the first year is the hardest, but they also say it’s still the honeymoon phase. All I know is that, yes, marriage is a challenge, but it’s also incredibly fun. So perhaps we are still undeniably in the honeymoon phase, but I can say with full assurance that despite the challenges of marriage, it’s the best thing ever to be married to my best friend, it’s fun, and I wouldn’t want to experience life any other way. I’m beyond grateful that we exchanged vows one year ago.  He truly is my other half, my soulmate. He completes me. 💖 

To celebrate our one-year anniversary, we booked an Airbnb for a weekend getaway in Sedona.  Like I’ve said before, we love Sedona since we spent our honeymoon there (and I think it’s the prettiest place in Arizona), so we wanted to spend a few days there for our anniversary!  Did you know, I hadn’t heard about Airbnb until this year?  I’m hooked now!  I can’t get over how much cheaper they are than hotels and in our experience, it’s a lot nicer because you’re just dealing with people, not a business.  It’s the best!

(Warning: This is going to be a very long post with lots of pictures ahead. 😉 )

Our trip down to Sedona started out with Dunkin’ Donuts iced coffee!

We absolutely adored our little Airbnb cottage.  It was honestly barely smaller than our apartment and the setup was just so cute.  Another perk of this Airbnb was that the kitchen was fully stocked with dishes, cookware, and even some food!  I truly loved that it had a tiny little dining table because we don’t have room for one in our apartment–so it was wonderful to have one for a couple of days!

Since we got in later than we expected, our vacation started with amazing pizza from a place there called Hideaway House.  Joshua and I decided that we wanted three specific styles of food for our time in Sedona: pizza (good, local pizza, not a chain or takeout), sushi, and dinner at The Golden Goose, which was the restaurant we went to on our honeymoon so now it’s a thing for us. 😉  We ordered the margarita pizza and it was fabulous!  We like our pizza with a thinner crust, lots of sauce, and very cheesy and this soared beyond our standards!  I also decided to try one of their alcoholic beverages since I’m still exploring what I like in alcohol.  I know I like vodka, so this sounded good and it was pretty great!  It was stronger in vodka than I expected, but I didn’t feel any buzz from it so they made it well.

We sat outside with poor lighting so please excuse the dark photos!

One thing we did on our honeymoon was watch the Harry Potter series, which was my first time watching the movies EVER after just finishing the books.  Due to Harry Potter being as amazing as it is, we wanted to continue that memory and experience, so we decided to spend our down time starting on the series again.  This has quickly turned into the beginning of “Harry Potter week” for us, which I’m sure will be a yearly tradition now. 😉  We are such nerds, lol.

The next day, we picked up the ATV we rented to go four-wheeling.  They went over a map with us for the four-hour trail they would send us on, confirming that it was indeed a great trail for beginners and sent us off!

Can I just say that they totally lied about it being for beginners??  There were parts of that trail that were absolutely TERRIFYING with nearly vertical drops of rock cliffs and vertical climbs of pure jutting rock.  I was so upset with them that they said it was for beginners.  I thought we were for sure going to die at places, that’s how scary it got at times.  Not gonna lie, I even broke down and cried a few times because it was so freaking scary.  I had to get out of the ATV and walk a couple of times while my husband maneuvered certain dangerous parts since he wasn’t sure how my weight would affect the balance of the vehicle being a passenger and all.

In the end, though, we made it.  I need to give a HUGE shoutout to my husband for being absolutely incredible with driving the ATV.  We said we were beginners because I thought I would drive at times (didn’t happen), and because it’s been a few years since four-wheeling for my husband.  However, he grew up doing this kind of thing in Alaska, and I guess it was like second nature to him because he handled it beautifully.  There were times when I thought it was the end and all I could do was close my eyes and pray.  And then he would say, “We made it,” without a tire slipping once.  There were huge ruts that I thought would make us go sideways, but he urged the vehicle onto just the right incline and angle to keep us straight.  He was careful and cautious and considered my fears before anything else.  Oh how I love him!

It was a huge test of faith and trust in my husband and I can honestly say I learned so much in those four hours.  I thought that I already trusted my husband, but it’s grown exponentially now.

During our four-wheeling, unfortunately, my husband’s phone fell out of his pocket, and went flying from the tire, effectively cracking the whole screen.  Thankfully it still works, so he just has a new screen protector on it until we figure out what to do (and when we have the money to do something about it).  Also, somehow my car keys disappeared from my bag.  I really don’t know how, but they are gone.  I never heard them fall or saw them slide out of my bag, but we can’t find them anywhere and I specifically put them in my bag before we went four-wheeling just in case something happened to my husband’s keys.  It’s not devastating because he still has his and we only have one car, but it’s just kind of scary because if those get lost, we’re stuck.  It’s no good worrying about what might happen and being paranoid, so we’re just making sure to be extra careful now.  We didn’t let us get those two things down!  We realized it is what it is and we moved on so we could still enjoy our weekend. 🙂

I should add here that I did have a super fun time.  The dangerous, terrifying parts stand out to me, but I had enough fun to do it again–just not on that trail!  It was fun to do something different than our norm and to spend a lot of time outside on a four-wheeler.  It was a great choice for our weekend.  I truly did enjoy it…even though it probably sounded like I didn’t.  I just didn’t like certain parts of that trail, that’s all.  🙂

That night, we headed out for sushi, which was admittedly the night I was most excited for!  What can I say, it’s sushi!  Unfortunately, the chef was super slow on making my roll.  By the time I got mine, it was thirty minutes after closing and probably about five-ten minutes after I would have been done eating if I’d gotten mine at the same time as my husband.  I don’t know what took the chef so long, but it really was ridiculous.  Still, it tasted amazing as always and was worth it!

My husband ordered the volcano roll, which was stuffed with lots of crab and had crab piled on top.  He loves it, lol.  I ordered the caterpillar roll, which has avocado, eel sauce and some kind of fish, and then we split a dragon roll.  I ended up liking the dragon roll more than anything else because it had shrimp tempura, so I’ll be getting that next time!

We headed to the movies afterward to see Wonder Woman!  I’d been wanting to see that so I was very excited, and even better, we had almost the whole theater to ourselves.

The next day was our anniversary!  We went out for breakfast at a place called Nick’s and it was delicious.  It wasn’t much different than a typical diner, but our waitress was superb in making sure we had everything we could possibly ask for.  I even ordered chocolate milk (yep, what can I say, I still love it, lol) and she wanted to make sure there was enough chocolate in it for me.  I got the Eggs Benedict which was delicious, my hubby ordered a breakfast sandwich, and we split a huge cinnamon roll.  The food was the quality I’d expect from a mom & pop diner, which was exactly what we were looking for.

After we digested from breakfast, we headed out hiking!  It was actually later in the day than we planned on, but it worked out because it was still hot outside and it would have been unbearable if we went any earlier.  Sedona is most known for its trails and hiking spots, so we really wanted to experience that this time.  Our Airbnb host recommended the Sugar Loaf trail, which was fantastic!  It was easy and scenic.

I couldn’t believe how much cacti there was at the trailhead!  It lined either side of the trail.  Even though I have lived in Arizona for seventeen years, it still made me a little nervous because I could just see myself tripping and falling into one.  It didn’t happen, though, thankfully!

The views in Sedona are so gorgeous with all the rock formations and layers of colors within the rocks.

If you don’t know, the residents of Sedona are typically very spiritual people.  They are all about the vortexes (high-energy locations for a spiritual awakening, apparently) found throughout Sedona, and anything New Age or spiritual that you can think of.  I find it intriguing to listen to them and hear how they truly believe.

When we got back from hiking, we showered and had dinner at The Golden Goose.  I forgot to take pictures, unfortunately, but it was fantastic.  The restaurant is more on the upscale side of things, so Joshua and I always feel like it’s a little too fancy for us, but we enjoy it anyway.  It’s expensive, but that’s what we saved up for.  I had the shrimp scampi and Caesar salad, and Joshua had a salmon special that was the best salmon either of us had ever tried!  We also order an appetizer of coconut shrimp with Pina Colada dipping sauce, and it was phenomenal.  I’m sure it wasn’t difficult for our waiter to realize how much we love seafood. 😉

Later that night, we opened a bottle of wine and celebrated our one-year anniversary officially with our wedding glasses, and eating slices from the top of our wedding cake.

The next morning we had to check out by noon, so we packed up and headed to breakfast at Pump House Station, which was also recommended by our host.  It was quite fantastic and I’ll definitely want to go back.  It had great prices for the food, and the food was delicious. The whole place had very urban vibes, with super cute decorations–like license plate markers to take to your table and mugs for the sugar packets.  I especially liked that even though it had more of a hipster atmosphere–which normally makes me feel a little out of place–we felt completely comfortable because there were all kinds of people there.  Families, younger people, older people, and everyone in between.  We headed outside since I love outdoor seating if it’s available, and it was a little crowded inside.  There was a beautiful view and it was just a very relaxing way to end our time in Sedona.

On our way out of Sedona, we stopped at Starbucks.  We had planned on making a trip to Starbucks at least once a day on our weekend, but it didn’t happen, so we made sure to swing by before climbing back up to Flagstaff.  I ordered the iced caramel macchiato, which is my favorite summer drink when we have some extra money, and my hubby ordered their peach citrus white tea, which was also delicious!

We headed home to a rainy Flagstaff, which made us happy because thunderstorms are our favorite weather of all time, and it hadn’t rained yet this summer.  It was a great way to come home!  That night we just had an easy dinner of leftovers from our trip and then headed to the theater to see the new Pirates.  Pirates 5 is amazing!  I wouldn’t say it’s better than the others, but I do think it’s just as good.  They continued to do such a great job coming up with completely unique Captain Jack moments, which is saying something since they are five movies in now.  It’s amazing to me that I saw the first one in theaters years ago and now during our one-year wedding anniversary we watched the fifth one in theaters!  Have you seen it?

The next day threw us back into regular work schedule, so I’m very happy it’s Friday night now!  It hasn’t been as hard adjusting back to this schedule as I thought, but I’ve been exhausted by the end of every day, so I’m glad we have the weekend to recover before starting the five-day week.  Also, I hit the gym every morning since we’ve been back (I don’t even want to think about what damage that food-filled weekend caused), so I think that has helped.

In this year of marriage, a lot has changed for us.  Difficult personal things have changed that I never would have imagined.  We have trekked a very hard path with certain things this year–not between the two of us, but in other areas of life.  What’s most important though, is that these difficult situations have grown us closer and stronger together as a couple!

Aside from that, though, we’ve hit some pretty big “landmarks”:

–At the beginning of our marriage, I worked twenty hours a week for a work at home job.

–I wrote a full novel from start to finish in three weeks.  (Still to be edited!)

–We celebrated my 21st birthday and my husband’s 25th birthday.

–I started a second work at home job, bumping me up to 40 hours a week and matching my husband.

–We spent the first 11 months of our marriage with me coming to work with him since he was the only one there.  I worked on my computer, and he worked at the shop.  His boss even encouraged it.  Basically that meant we were blessed to be together 24/7–and it truly was a wonderful blessing for us.

–Joshua got his wisdom teeth out.

–He also got his dream job last month and started on a new career adventure!

–I had to quit my first work at home job last month.

–He’s now working a typical job–in which I can’t be with him, imagine that–so my work at home job is truly work at home now.  Anytime I’m not working, I’m job hunting.

–We’re loving his new hours of 7-4, because he gets an hour lunch break, so he can come home and eat with me (he didn’t have any lunch break at his previous job and worked 9-6 so it was really hard to get any errands or anything done), and then 4 PM feels SO EARLY compared to 6 PM!

Lots of changes, but mostly good!  If you stuck around to the end of this very long post, I’m super impressed.  I had a lot to share but that’s because we had an amazingly wonderful and packed weekend.  Until next time!

Happy weekend!

-Tialla ❤

Our Fourth of July!

I hope you all had a fabulous Fourth of July weekend!  Joshua and I certainly did.  We try to soak up every moment we have together outside of work and that especially holds true for long weekends!  Unfortunately I still had to work on Sunday, but it was only for four hours, so not too bad. 😉

On Saturday, Joshua and I decided to check on the fluids in our car because we had taken a nine hour trip for his new job training.  As fate would have it, we needed to fill the washer fluid, so we got the bottle out and washer fluid was all over the outside of the bottle.  It got on our hands from that and when I poured it in the car, it splashed on my hands again.  We made a mental note to wash our hands, finished up with the fluids, and decided to check the mail while we were out.  (This story does have a point, I promise.)

After getting the mail, we took it back to our apartment and since it was so hot, I suggested we walk down to Dairy Queen to get ice cream cones.  It was a quick jaunt and soon we had chocolate-dipped ice cream cones in our hands.  It did not take us more than half a second to realize that hardened, chocolate-dipped ice cream cones were a bad idea as it did not hold the ice cream in, it just pushed down on it so it started dripping EVERYWHERE.  As we were walking back home, they started dripping so much that we decided to stop and sit on a wall to finish them.  It was also windy, so imagine hair in my face, trying to walk and hold together this quickly falling apart and melting cone, chocolate getting everywhere, my hands covered in ice cream….

I decided to lick the ice cream off my hand.

You may notice that I never said we washed our hands for which we made that mental note, and oh my goodness, that was the most vile taste I’ve ever had in my mouth.  It immediately made me nauseated and I gagged.  I made sure at that point to just hold the cone at where the paper covered it, hoping that would make a difference.  Before long, hubby had the same reaction when he bit into a piece of cone that he had touched with his hand.  Unfortunately, the paper was not enough on my cone because it was still vile when I got to it.

Such a disappointing experience, lol.

Anyway, that was our funny story for Saturday.

Come Monday, hubby and I decided to kick off the Independence Day celebrations with making double chocolate cookies!  You can find the recipe here if you want!  I loved how easy it was to put together and the cookies truly taste wonderful!  I thought it was interesting how different the recipe was from others I’ve used, and the dough was so soft it couldn’t even be rolled into balls–just blobs, haha!  I have a tendency to over bake cookies because I’m so paranoid about them being undercooked (even though they totally taste better), so ours turned out crunchier than they should have been.

Also, making cookies with my husband as a team was one of the most fun things we’ve done!  I don’t like to cook or bake very much, so it was much more enjoyable doing it together for fun.  I can also tell how over this year of marriage (almost one year–July 10th!), we’ve gotten so much better about working together.  When we first got married, I know I wouldn’t have let him make these with me because he didn’t know much about cooking/baking, and I wasn’t patient enough to deal with it.  Being in the kitchen together was frustrating for both of us.  I was amazed at how well we worked together to make these cookies and truly had a blast–which was one of the first times we’d collaborated in the kitchen for a long while.  Now he’s learned a little bit more and I’m more laid back.  We’ve both learned in different ways.  If we could grow with each other this much in one year, I can’t wait to see what more years bring us. ❤

While the cookies were baking, hubby tackled the dishes and I made us some chicken salad sandwiches for dinner.  As soon as the cookies were out and cooling, we sat down to watch Independence Day, which is now our July 3rd tradition.  It started last year when Joshua’s best man, Donald, was in town for our wedding.  He wanted to take us to Resurgence on July 4th, but we had to go in the morning since we had a BBQ to get to, so we naturally watched the first one the night before.  It was the most fantastic experience watching the first one on July 3rd and the new one on July 4th, that we decided it needed to be repeated.  Have you guys watched Resurgence?  We love it!  Then again, we love both of the movies and we are sci-fi geeks.

(I did take a Snapchat video of us watching it, but apparently we can’t upload those?  So here’s the trailer, lol.)

Our Fourth of July started off with sleeping in and homemade crepes!  I wanted to make us a nice breakfast but we’d had a lot of scrambled or fried eggs lately, so I wanted something different.  We’d also recently had pancakes and oatmeal, and I didn’t want to make something with bread because we don’t have much for a grocery budget right now and we were running low.  So I did a Pinterest search and I was reminded of how great crepes are!  They turned out super delicious and were probably the easiest crepes I’ve ever made.

We filled some with apple butter and others with Nutella.  I topped the Nutella ones with whipped cream and I had this idea that chocolate syrup would also be good.  I don’t know why I thought that, because it definitely was not.  The Nutella was great, though!  I can’t wait to make crepes again and try them with more savory than sweet toppings, like ricotta and spinach.

During breakfast, we watched Resurgence, which was just as fantastic as before.  I’m definitely looking forward to repeating this tradition each year–it’s such a fun way to spend Independence Day!

We were initially planning on going on a picnic at Lake Mary with sandwiches and Hot Cheetos (our fave, my goodness, we are so addicted), but we cancelled on that since we wanted hot dogs instead, and we realized that it would probably be super crowded at Lake Mary.  Being the introverts that we are, we try to avoid crowds, especially rowdy intoxicated ones, so….  We stayed home, watched Silicon Valley, and enjoyed hot dogs and Hot Cheetos with each other.

We slightly hurried through eating because it was getting late by then and we wanted to get a good spot by the fireworks.  Despite the fact that Arizona has a huge fire ban right now with several raging wildfires currently, the reservation still put on a fireworks show.  I guess it’s pretty risky and kind of dumb since it could have turned into another fire with how dry it is, but I’m personally glad they did!  I pretty much grew up not having fireworks in Arizona on Independence Day due to the dryness, so it’s always disappointing to miss it–and conversely, always exciting to see them!

We got out there at about 8:15 PM, which was perfect timing because we got an awesome spot to watch from the car and about five minutes later, cars were crowded around us.  Perfect timing, I say!

For those of you who don’t know, my husband and I own one car, and it has eight seats.  This means that when we put the seats down, we have ample room in the back to lay down and stretch out.  We put down the seats when we parked, pulled out a blanket, and cuddled up to watch the fireworks.  We actually still had about thirty minutes before the show, which was fine by us because at least we got there early enough!

Love him so much. ❤

The fireworks show was the longest I’ve ever seen here in Arizona, and it’s honestly pretty amazing when it’s a long show, considering all the fireworks they have to purchase to keep a thirty minute show going.  There were times I thought it was starting to finish up with the Grand Finale, but it still went on for fifteen-twenty minutes more.   Turned out, they just liked to be fancy and we loved it!

(Again, I took a Snapchat video.  Now I know that doesn’t work for the blog!)

We finished the night with more Silicon Valley because we’re definitely addicted to that show!  What can I say…it’s hilarious!

Going back to work schedule on Wednesday was hard, but hey, we made it and it’s Friday night!  Joshua and I are super excited for this weekend because it’s our anniversary weekend!  We will be spending our anniversary at an Airbnb in Sedona, which is super fun for us because the first few days of our honeymoon were spent in Sedona.  We saved up a lot for this to make sure we could have a great time, so we rented an ATV to go four-wheeling, we plan on a hiking trip, fancy dinners, ice cream, the movie theater, Starbucks, and Harry Potter movies.  I also wanted a couple’s massage but my mister wasn’t too keen on that so maybe next year, haha.  And of course, reminiscing on this year of marriage, eating our wedding cake, and toasting to the future.

Happy weekend!

-Tialla ❤