Our Move

You guys…this has been the craziest week of probably my whole life.

(FYI: this will be a very lengthy post.)

To start with, I have to say that I recommend not doing a lease takeover.  There’s always the possibility you’d have a better experience than us, and that would be awesome.  Even though there are pros to a lease takeover (such as not having to worry about first & last month’s rent/security deposit, etc), there are definitely cons.

For instance, the previous residents of our new apartment completely screwed us over.

The frustration with them began the week of our move, when the resident absolutely stopped communicating with me.  We had already seen the apartment (with rose-colored glasses for sure) and been approved through the office, and then she just stopped even looking at my messages.  She still hasn’t looked at them and we’ve been moved in for a week now!

Since it was a lease takeover, I was trying to communicate with her about when/how we would get the keys, when their utilities would be shut off since the office required our utilities to be activated before we moved in, etc.  And, she just ignored me and completely checked out of the conversation.  She basically abandoned the apartment–even flew off to Florida–before we even signed the lease.

Random, but Zelda loved all the boxes as we packed to move!

The frustration continued when it was the day before our move and I still hadn’t heard anything from her and this girl’s roommate was supposed to drop the keys off at the office for us to pick up the morning of our move.  All day, we kept calling and checking in, and yet there were no keys.  We asked the office to contact them since I didn’t have her roommate’s info or anything.  Ten minutes before closing, we called the office again and they let us know that apparently the roommate wasn’t moving OUT until the next day–the day of OUR move!  So, lots of stress and frustration and we had already reserved the U-Haul and everything because we all agreed (and signed!) that our lease began on that day.

Needless to say, we had to rearrange our plans for the move because we didn’t want to waste anyone’s time since we had no idea when we would even get the keys (or how).  We still picked up the U-Haul that morning since it was previously reserved, and Joshua’s family and a coworker helped us pack everything.

We arrived at our new complex at about two in the afternoon, and when we went to the office, they still didn’t have the keys.  By that time, just gonna be honest, Joshua and I were royally pissed.  We decided to just knock on the apartment door.

Thankfully, they answered and we explained that we were supposed to be moving in today and asked when we could get the keys.  Just another hour, we were assured.  I gave her my number to make sure we would have direct contact.  Relieved that we finally had an answer, we walked back to the car and ran out to get some lunch.

By three or three-thirty, she texted me and handed over the keys.  That was supposed to be the end of the issues, but that really was only the beginning.  We walked inside and stood there in horror, staring at the apartment.

They left it FILTHY.  Like, you guys, they lived there for three years and I’m convinced they never cleaned an inch of it.  It was disgusting.  The ceiling and baseboards were BLACK with built up grime and dust.  The walls were splattered from top to bottom with mud, dirt, and grime and who knows what else.  Cobwebs hung in numerous corners.  Grease coated the wall behind the stove and the backsplash.  The bathroom was nauseatingly disgusting and there were strands of hair stuck everywhere–even in the oven.  The yard was piled with three years of dog poop and trash.

Who leaves an apartment like that?!   I don’t care if you don’t have to deal with the apartment complex holding you responsible.  You just don’t leave that filth for other people!

When we had originally toured it, I at least noticed the place was dusty, but it hadn’t been a concern for me because I thought surely they would clean it–that’s just what you do.

I haven’t even gotten to the damage yet.  There was a gaping hole in the bathroom wall from a towel rod being torn out, which I had asked for them to fix before we moved in.  They assured us it would be fixed, obviously lying.  There was a six-inch hole in the bedroom that they simply plastered over instead of patching it, so it simply sank into the hole.

They damaged/bent the dead bolt so we literally got locked out of/inside our apartment until we could get emergency maintenance to fix it because it simply wouldn’t unlock.  Beyond that, the bedroom blinds are trashed with nearly half a side missing (something we wouldn’t have seen because she had the curtains closed when we toured), there are numerous big nail holes and other cracked and spackled places that we never saw when we first toured the apartment.  Admittedly, we weren’t looking at the details, but rather, the big-picture.  (Though to our credit, I did ask to tour it again so we could look more specifically for damage, but the resident stopped responding to me.  With a lease takeover, the complex automatically makes us responsible for all existing damage, so we have a lot to fix.  No wonder these residents did a lease takeover instead of finishing out their lease with the complex so they wouldn’t be accountable for their actions.)

We had no choice but to scrub every inch of the apartment.  Before we could even move our things in, we had to first spend hours scrubbing the living room so just had a clean place to put them.  It was dark before we finished unloading the U-Haul.

I promise I had fully planned on taking pictures of the empty apartment to post on my blog for the exciting moving adventures.  However, that was definitely not happening with how disgusting they left it.

This entire week has been spent scrubbing the apartment from top to bottom, inside and out.  I have discovered that bleach water is literally the best thing EVER for getting anything  off.  There are numerous areas of grime that multi-surface cleaner couldn’t even touch but it would come off with a scrubbing sponge and bleach water.  Bleach water also puts my mind at ease because now I know everything is sanitized.

We finally tackled the yard this Saturday and it was even more disgusting than I imagined.  They had a full trash can of poop and trash outside, yet, the yard also had layers upon layers of dog poop and trash–like they just gave up even trying years ago when the trash can got filled.  We started with filling a kitchen size garbage bag just with trash and random dog poop.  Then, we went out and bought shovels and work gloves.  For the next several hours, we shoveled and dug and filled fourteen garbage bags with dog poop.  FOURTEEN.  They were ridiculously heavy and I’m not sure my arms have ever felt more sore than after that.  There was even dog poop in the fire pit! -_-  Joshua’s coworker has recommended we pour hot bleach water on the dirt to kill any bacteria leftover from the poop so our dog doesn’t possibly get sick.  Do you think that is a good idea?  I’ve never heard of putting bleach on dirt, but the logic makes sense to me.

On the upside, the apartment and yard is now sparkling clean.  ❤  We are considering throwing the grill out since it was never cared for, covered, or maintained, so it’s corroded, rusted, and just not safe to cook on.  We plan on, instead, purchasing a $70 brand new charcoal-grill and calling it good, lol.  (However, Joshua’s coworker is confident he can get it looking brand new again and completely disinfected, so if they want to put in the work, we might just keep it.)  I guess we will see what happens.

Even with all this, we love our new apartment.  It’s SO much better than our previous one and it actually feels like we can make a home here instead of at our studio–which, let’s be honest, isn’t anything more than a glorified room.  I also love that this apartment doesn’t have any carpet, which reduces pet damage. 😉

We still have the living room to finish organizing.  We found out that we can’t put any indoor objects in the outdoor storage because there’s all kinds of spiders and creatures in there and I wouldn’t trust bringing anything back into the apartment.  It makes for a great place for outdoor items, however, like shovels, firewood, charcoal, a trash can, etc.

I am totally LOVING having a washer and dryer and dishwasher. ❤ ❤ ❤  It may have taken us five days to fill the dishwasher between the two of us, but those five days were the easiest days of dishes ever!

On top of everything with the apartment this week, I found out that my current project with my job is ending, so I’ve had to start training for a new one.  We also had to switch internet companies because our previous one didn’t get hardly anything at our new place.  That’s actually a good thing, though, because we are now saving money.

Oh, and about three days after we moved in, the management for the complex changed, so we haven’t been able to set up anything for paying rent or seeing our bills, which has added stress to the existing situation due to it just being the 1st of the month.

It’s funny, when I think about it, this has been one of the craziest and most stressful weeks in my life, and my face broke out in response.  Yet, I’m just so happy and excited to be here at this apartment!  I pretty much despise the previous residents with every fiber of my being, but that doesn’t diminish my joy of having this apartment.  Weirdly enough, all the cleaning for this apartment has kind of made it feel more like ours.  It’s a fixer-upper rental, lol.  I told Joshua that for all the work and money we are putting into this place, I sure hope we can keep renting here for years to make it worthwhile, haha!

I can’t even express adequately how awesome it has been to have a yard for letting Kona out!  It’s absolutely amazing to not have to walk her out whenever she has to go–especially in the early morning and at night.  On that note, we have such plans for this yard.  We are hoping to get solar string lights to hang along the fence, as well as put in a kind of roll-out walkway for the grill & by the gate to reduce bringing in mud and dirt.  We have to build up the fire pit a bit more and I have plans for a tiny garden this summer. ❤

Kona and Zelda have adjusted well to the move, though apparently Zelda now thinks there aren’t any rules since this is a new place.  We had so few rules before anyway (I mean, what cat truly listens?), but she at least knew she really wasn’t supposed to get on the stove or lick out dishes left on the stove.  Now, any existing rules are out the window and she is just all over the place.  It cracks me up.  That’s a cat for you, I guess!  Oh and even though they are adjusting well, it’s easy to tell they miss carpet.  They find anything to lay on to avoid the hard floor!

As for our improvements so far, we have re-patched the hole in the bedroom wall (which was already on the list, but Kona made it a priority by eating through the existing spackle, the bad dog) and patching the hole in the bathroom.  We still have to texturize them, but at least they aren’t gaping holes any longer.

We also replaced the shower head, which wasn’t damaged, but it just didn’t work well.  It basically didn’t have any water pressure so it took like five minutes to just rinse shampoo from my hair.  I bought a handheld sprayer with great reviews off Amazon for $16 and Joshua just installed it!  I’m super excited about it, especially since it will work great for bathing Kona as well.

If you made it to the end, I’m super impressed!  I wanted to share this with all of you, but I also needed to work through it all and chronicle it.  I’m a writer at heart, and writing helps me sort through events and emotions–especially when it’s been so much happening at once.

I hope all is well with you guys and I’m working to catch up on blogs whenever I have the chance.  🙂

Until next time,

-Tialla ❤


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 ❤

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 ❤

My Placement Test

Hello friends!

I am here today with great relief, a weight off my shoulders, and floating on Cloud 9, because I took my placement test this week!  It’s over.  *throws confetti*

In my “What’s Up Wednesday” post, I mentioned the test was the biggest thing I’ve been dreading.  It’s been about a solid three weeks of studying, nerves, doubt, panic, and more.  I hate feeling so nervous about something that I’m unable to enjoy anything else until that event is over.  Other than the past three weeks, it’s also been a solid six months of underlying apprehension since I decided to go to college, knowing I would have to take this test.

For those of you who don’t know, I graduated from high school about 4 1/2 years ago.  If I had gone to college full-time right after high school, I’d already have my bachelor’s, lol.  Better late than never, right?

When I quit my job back in June, job hunting showed me just how much employers don’t want to hire anyone without a college degree.  There are numerous reasons why I’ve decided to go to college now, but the lack of inclusion in the job force was certainly a motivation.  I also absolutely love learning, and I don’t just want to stop at my high school diploma!  I still have to work full-time, but I’m starting with taking one class at a time.  Even if it’s slow progress, it’s still progress.

So, back to the placement testing.  I took the ACCUPLACER at the college for the math and English sections.  Again, math and I get along just as swimmingly as oil and water, so I expected to not do well.  That’s okay, because the whole point of the test was to place me where I should start.  I didn’t exactly want to do well if it meant being placed in a class beyond my skill.  I definitely don’t want to drop a class, or try to push through and fail.

English is my best friend, so I wasn’t very concerned about it, other than the essay portion.  I don’t mind writing essays at all; the part that made me nervous was anticipating the unknown prompt.  I was scared the prompt would regard something I didn’t know much about, which would have made it infinitely harder to come up with sources, proof, or logic for my argument.  The day before the test, I reviewed my essay writing technique and practiced with the outline and everything, which helped build my confidence.  You guys, I totally lucked out with the prompt.  It basically wanted me to write on whether or not I believed fiction books can teach values and helpful life lessons.  I nearly giggled when I saw the prompt because it literally couldn’t have been more perfect for me, a bibliophile.

The best part (other than it being over, lol) is that my scores are so much better than I could have hoped for!  If you don’t know, the essays are graded on a score of one-eight, with eight being perfect.  I got a seven!!  I was shocked!  I love writing, but I was still intimidated before the test because I had reviewed their standards of grading each essay score, and they seemed harsh.  I was hoping for at least a three, so I am ecstatic.  My reading comprehension score was also two points from perfect, which made my day.  I’m definitely not trying to sound braggadocios or anything…I’m just ridiculously excited since I haven’t been in school for 4 1/2 years.

As for math, I placed way higher than I expected.  There were two sections: Elementary Algebra and College Math.  There were plenty of problems I didn’t know in Elementary Algebra, so I was stunned when I finished it and they moved me onto College Math.  Students have to earn a high enough score on Elementary Algebra to move forward.  I practically didn’t recognize anything in the college math section.  Like, they had entire words over numbers as fractions in the algebraic equations.  I was lost, haha, but that was okay because it just means I need to learn it.  That’s the whole point of college anyway. 😉

Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure I placed higher than I should have.  On the test,  they don’t have an “I don’t know” option, so when I had no idea, I just chose the first answer.  (And secretly hoped it was wrong, so I didn’t place higher than I should.)  I have a feeling I accidentally got more correct than I should have, and therefore placed higher.  It makes me laugh, because that’s what any student wants on a test, but not a placement test!

According to my math results, I placed high enough to only take one math class for my degree!  That’s amazing to me.  With my dislike of math, I almost feel like getting a tutor and struggling through.  As long as I pass, I don’t really care.  Getting math out of the way sounds fantastic!  But then again, I don’t want to start something I’m going to fail, and I’m certain I didn’t know enough math to place that high.  I should probably start about two classes lower to work my way up.  I suppose, though, deciding all of this is why my next step is meeting with an advisor!

My husband was so proud of my test scores that he took me out for lunch afterwards!  It was such a nice surprise.  He let me choose anywhere I wanted, so I picked Pato Thai–a delicious thai restaurant downtown.  I love their sushi, so we got their crunchy roll, which had crab, cucumber, shrimp tempura, and other ingredients I can’t remember.  😉  We also ordered Pad Thai with shrimp.  I got a Dr. Pepper and hubby tried their Mango iced tea, which was amazing.

All in all, I’m just so happy it’s done and now I have a plan for where to start!  All I have left is meeting with the advisor, registering for class, and getting my student ID.  🙂

Until next time,

-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 ❤

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 ❤

First Wedded Valentine’s Day

This year was our first Valentine’s Day as husband and wife!  It wasn’t our first Valentine’s together, but it definitely felt different this year celebrating as a married couple.  (And honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way!  Marriage is the BEST!)

This year was also different because we are more strapped for money than we were last year, so it took a quite a bit of creativity to have any extra funds for drinks or dinner.  In the end, though, we decided it’s one day, it’s a holiday, and we wanted to splurge a little because we are just going to drive ourselves crazy if we say “no” to every special treat.

The day started off with $3 chocolate hearts we found for each other at Walmart!  We were amazed at the great deal, and the chocolate tastes delicious!


Unfortunately, both Joshua and I had to work all day, but thanks to the flexibility of our jobs, I was able to spend all day with him at his work (while I worked on my laptop), so we were together as much as possible!

Later that afternoon, we took a ten-minute break to run down the street for a special Valentine’s Starbucks!  They had the Molten Chocolate Trio (a latte, frappe, or hot chocolate) specialty going on for Valentine’s Day that we wanted to take advantage of.  Thankfully, no one seemed to be at Starbucks around 3:30 in the afternoon, so there was no wait for us!

Of course kisses for Valentine's Day <3

Of course kisses for Valentine’s Day ❤


When we were off work, we ordered take-out sushi for a special dinner!  (Because actually eating in the restaurant on Valentine’s Day is just far too crowded and chaotic for us introverts. 😉 )  Funny story: Before I met my husband, I had never tried good sushi (aka, I’d only had disgusting, fishy, cheap grocery store California rolls).  He introduced me to a local sushi place here in town and needless to say, I’m now OBSESSED and I wish we could get it far more often than our typical every three-four months.  I guess it keeps it special, though. 😉  Oh my yum, so amazingly delicious.

This was actually an awesome deal: three rolls for $30. (And this is more than enough to STUFF the two of us!)

This was actually an awesome deal: three rolls for $30. (And this is more than enough to STUFF the two of us!)

Once we were home, we had a few minutes before sitting down to eat, so I took the time to sneak around the house and hide Harry Potter Valentine cards for my husband to treasure-hunt.  I printed them up weeks ago and I’m pretty sure it was the highlight of my excitement for the day, other than the sushi.  The sushi pretty much tops all. 😉





img_2234Before long, I told him he had eight treasures to find and he began his search.  He found the first six super easily but the last two proved slightly more difficult. 😉




After he found them all (which he LOVED by the way!  A good way for him to remember his nerdy wife, haha), we sat down to eat our sushi and watch a movie.  We originally wanted “Grease” as our Valentine’s Day tradition, but then we thought we should try a new movie in the ‘Romantic Favorites’ category on Netflix.  We went with “The Switch” which was definitely a mistake for a romantic evening (to be clear, it did have a romantic element, but that wasn’t the point of the movie, which was what we wanted for Valentine’s Day).  Next year will be “Grease” for sure!

We ended the night with some light drinks that we splurged on for the very purpose of Valentine’s Day.  I’d never had vodka before, and so we decided to give it a shot.  The consensus: I like it!


Overall, it was such a blessing to be married this Valentine’s Day!  I hope you and yours had a beautiful day as well! ❤