Blizzard Weekend!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time,

-Tialla ❤

Glasses!

I bought new glasses!

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For those of you who don’t know, in order to see clearly, I need glasses.  I started wearing my first pair of glasses at age twelve.  However, when I was sixteen, I was tired of dealing with my glasses (there are numerous cons to wearing glasses for those of you who don’t know), and I figured, my vision wasn’t that bad, so I stopped wearing them.  I didn’t get contacts (I’m still freaked out by all the risks involved with contacts), I just quit wearing glasses.  I also did some research about whether or not this would damage my eyes in the long-run, but the resounding answer was no.  Satisfied, I placed my glasses in my dresser.  That is, other than when I drove. 😉

Five years passed.  Skip forward to a few months ago.

My husband knows that I need glasses to see properly, and he’s always encouraged me to wear them, but I’ve still chosen not to.  However, recently, I started to notice some actual problems with not wearing my glasses.  For example, say my husband would be pointing to something he noticed in the distance, and when I looked to see it, I literally wouldn’t even know something existed there.  It wasn’t just that the shape was blurry, it was that it completely blended in with everything else because of the blurriness.  More and more I noticed not being able to read menus at fast food places, or not knowing if someone across the room was talking to me or my husband if they didn’t ask a direct question and I couldn’t tell who they were looking at.

So yes, problems.

I’m not sure how I went this long without it becoming an issue because my eye doctor didn’t see a change in my eyes this year.  Perhaps it’s because I now have someone actually pointing things out to me, and previously I just assumed nothing was there since I couldn’t see it.

Because, you know, my sight wasn’t that bad.

Well, that phase of reluctance and denial has ended.  My hubby began to encourage me more and more to wear my glasses, but I just didn’t like my current pair.  They worked for driving, but they were frameless, so they had a lot of glare, as well as they slid down all the time.  Thus, I decided that in order to start wearing my glasses again daily, I would need the necessary motivation of a new pair of glasses.

Thankfully, I heard of Zenni Optical, which pretty much revolutionized the whole getting glasses ordeal.  Their glasses are inexpensive, high quality, and custom made.  You can upload a photo of yourself to “try them on” and browse hundreds of frames.  I ended up spending $30 for a pair of glasses, and that included shipping!  They did not sponsor me at all for this, by the way, I just happen to love them!

My glasses came in the mail yesterday, marking the beginning to my journey in adjusting to daily life with glasses again.  Can I just say, though, that I LOVE my glasses?  The size, the shape….  Also, the lenses look like they are almost nonexistent.  I can’t get over it–my glasses look like they are just frames unless a glare is on my lenses.  I’m sure that this will probably go away as the lenses get exposed to different elements, but I still think it’s just so neat.

Another great thing is that these glasses hardly ever slide down.  I’m so happy with them, and they definitely help me feel more comfortable with wearing glasses again!

I thought it would be fun to post photos of my glasses through the years, from starting at twelve-sixteen and then today.

My first pair of glasses at age 12!

My first pair of glasses at age 12!

Second pair at age 14

Third pair at 16! (These are the frameless ones I mentioned.)

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And then today’s at age 21. 😉

 

Anyway, I just thought it would be fun to write an update about my new glasses and the start to this more “clear” phase of my life. 😉

Until next time,

-Tialla

Our Six-Month Anniversary

(Heads up that this will indeed be a mushy post. 😉 )

On Tuesday, January 10th, Joshua and I celebrated our six-month wedding anniversary.  It’s absolutely amazing to me that it has already been half a year since we said, “I do.”  These past six months have simply flown by.  With each month that passes, I’m reminded of the reality of the saying, “Time flies when you’re having fun.”  I know without doubt that I’m going to blink and we’ll both be decades down the line, amazed at the time that has sped by.

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I think back on what has happened these past months since our wedding ceremony, and it just blows my mind.  Various aspects of work (both Joshua’s and mine), family, friends, aspirations, hopes, plans, goals, projects, and routines…so much has happened, and so much has changed from the day before our wedding.  What an adventure we’ve had so far, both good and bad, and I wouldn’t want to spend this life with anyone else.

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This was the caption I posted on my social media for our anniversary post:

“How has it possibly already been half a year since we said our vows? These past six months have simply flown by. To think, when we had been dating for six months, you proposed, and now we have been married for six months! As I tell anyone who asks, marriage is the best thing ever. Always having my soulmate, best friend, and lover by my side each and every day, through thick and thin. Knowing that no matter what, he is there for me. Many things may happen during the day, but at the end of the day, we have each other. Since July, our lives have seen many changes. Ebb and flow with both the good and the bad, the exciting and the mundane, but the constant is the fact that we still have each other. I’m so grateful to share this life with you, Joshua, to always have you here to support and encourage me, and to give me the blessing of always being there for you, supporting, and encouraging you. And most importantly, I’m so grateful to the Lord for bringing us together, as well as for giving us the humbling opportunity to mirror Christ and the Church with our marriage. It’s such a blessing to settle in married life with you, Mister, to figure out how to be married together, to be your helper, and to go on this journey together, hand in hand. I’m so excited to see where God takes us. Happy six months! I love you to the moon and back! <3″

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We celebrated our anniversary starting with a meal of homemade biscuits and gravy.  This was my first time making both homemade biscuits and gravy and I have to say, I LOVED how they turned out!  Definitely will be repeating.

If this doesn't look appetizing, I apologize, but it really was DELICIOUS! :)

If this doesn’t look appetizing, I apologize, but it really was DELICIOUS! 🙂

After dinner, we headed to the movies to see Rogue One (thanks to my in-laws for a movie theater Christmas gift card!).  It was a wonderful time out together, especially since we can rarely afford to go to the theater these days.

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Happy halfway anniversary, my love!  I can’t wait to see what these next six months (and beyond) hold for us.

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-Tialla ❤

 

The Polar Express!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We had to commemorate the train ride with a selfie!

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

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

-Tialla ❤

Happy New Year!

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I can hardly believe it’s January 1st already.  While 2016 had a lot of downs, it also had some major “ups” for me, such as marrying the love of my life.  However, I can’t say I’m sad to see 2016 go, and I’m hoping that 2017 is an even better year.  I guess we will see!  We never know what hand we will be dealt, but we can chose how we respond to it, and that’s my goal for this year!

Happy New Year, everyone!

-Tialla

Finished!

Merry Christmas, everyone!  Can you believe it’s already only four days until Christmas?  Where has December gone??

I just wanted to post an update on here that I FINISHED my novel!  I actually finished it back on December 14th, but I’ve been so busy with preparing for Christmas, job stuff, being a wife, dental issues, church, finances, keeping our kitten from destroying our apartment, shopping, and more, that I just haven’t gotten around to it until now.  It’s been quite the month!

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However, since finishing my book, despite everything else going on, I’ve still been able to step back for a moment and sigh with relief.  It truly is the best feeling ever to finish an entire first draft of a novel.  Though I still have lots of editing and revisions ahead of me I’m sure, just knowing that the story from start to finish is down on paper, not just swimming around in my head, is an incredible feeling.  The story is there; now I have to polish it.  Also, considering I was starting to become a little fearful that I wouldn’t finish, I’m pretty relieved.  In fact, I was so determined to finish my book that I wrote 7,000 words on December 14th.  Which, if you don’t know, is a LOT.  Especially for one day.

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I wrapped up “The Cursed Blessing” at a total of 77,400 words.  I was aiming for somewhere between 70k and 80k, so I’m quite pleased with the result.  I have hopes to reach 80k in the editing process, but I guess we will see.

This book has been completely different from my other two novels.  Not only is it the shortest novel I’ve written, but it was the easiest to write by FAR, and it had the most fleshed-out/developed outline.  While my outline for my second book was simply a page with a “timeline” of plot events, the outline for TCB sat at over 6500 words, with each notable scene jotted down from the beginning to the end.  While I had to revise the outline for my second book about three times while writing the book, the outline for TCB stayed true and worked for the entire book.

I can’t help but wonder if my latest novel is shorter due to the fact that I had a stronger outline and a more developed concept of the book before even starting it than I had for either of my other books.  Thus, I was able to be more concise in my writing.

Another difference between TCB and my other novels is point of view.  For my two published novels, I wrote from various points of view, the main character being in first person, and then other parts of the story from different character points of view while using third person.  For TCB, I stuck to the main character’s head, in first person point of view.  The reader only knows what she knows, and honestly, I really liked that.  It makes sense that not writing scenes from other character points of view would shorten the book as well.

Though there is this entire idea behind NaNoWriMo of “quantity, not quality” (which, for a time bothered me, though I learned this November that they just meant you can always edit later–you can’t edit a book that doesn’t even exist to begin with), I do believe this book is my best work of “quality, not quantity.”

But I guess I’ll see if that still seems true when I start editing sometime in January. 😉

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Anyway, I just wanted to let you all know that I finished and after New Year’s I will start editing it, life permitting that is.  Work and being with my husband take priority.  For now, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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-Tialla ❤

*Phew* It’s December!

The last time I graced this blog, I was considering doing NaNoWriMo, and if you don’t remember that blog post, you can read all about it here.

The reason for my absence since then has been preparing for and participating in said NaNoWriMo.  And I am happy to say that I finished my 50,000 words on my story with one week to go in November!  It was incredibly fun to sit down and pound out those words, oftentimes more than I needed, and watched the progress bar increase as I updated my daily word count.  Also, watching my writing buddies update their word count was a large part of the fun.  Writing a novel is usually such a solitary project that it was so nice to feel that community and sense of camaraderie as we all worked toward the same goal of 50k in thirty days.

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My book is not finished, but I only have about one-fourth left to write.  I’m currently at 56,000 words and I’m still trying to keep up the momentum of writing each day so I can finish this novel.  That fear of not finishing is starting to get to me, and I will do nearly anything to keep that from happening. So I keep telling myself, “I will finish, I will finish, and I will finish soon.”

I’d like to think that motivating self-talk is helping.

I may not be writing as much daily as I was during NaNoWriMo, but each word written is still more than I had the day before, and as my husband would say, that’s what matters.

Also, speaking of my husband, he rocks.  He spent all of November being my biggest encouragement, motivation, and simply put, my biggest fan.  I had my own personal cheerleader of sorts.  He spent each and every day telling me how much I could totally do this, and how he knew it would be amazing.  Yep, he’s amazing, and ladies, he’s mine. ❤

Now my goal is to simply finish this book before Christmas, preferably by the first half of December.  I’m planning on letting it sit until after New Year’s, at which point I will return to it with my red pen and edit the crap out of it.  I’ve promised my husband the very first read, and then my sister-in-law, a good friend of mine, and possibly an author friend.  I still don’t know if I will publish this book; I guess I will have to see how I feel about it once I’ve completed at least one round of editing.

For those of you who don’t know (that is, those of you who don’t follow me on my other social media), my book is titled, “The Cursed Blessing.”  Here is the synopsis:

“Crossing the ocean didn’t turn out quite how she expected.  Actually, not at all how she expected.  As she’s dragged through the icy water and she gulped her last breath of air, she knew this was the end.  But was it?”

Vague, but purposeful.  Also, book summaries are the bane of my writing existence.  (I know nearly every writer can attest to this as well.)  I wanted to spend more time writing the book itself than crafting the perfect summary, for now.

My designer for “Where Shadows Lie” created a cover for my NaNoWriMo book, which I simply love!

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And yes, there are mermaids.  You can get excited.  I know I am. *throws confetti*  I’m pretty sure I’ve always wanted to be a mermaid, so this book has been so much fun for me.  As a side note, this has been my first time writing fantasy and I am really loving it!  I’m sure I’ll be returning to fantasy again.

If you don’t hear from me again before the New Year, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and yours!

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-Tialla