2020 Personal Goals.

personalgoals

Hey!

I created a goals post for reading/blogging (linked at the end of this post), but figured I would do one for my personal goals as well. I had a list of goals for 2019, but I only accomplished maybe five of them. I want to try again and really hoping that I finally get around to some of these things! So what they?

Master my Nikon D3400 manual mode. I’ve had my Nikon for a couple years now and I have yet to really use it other than always having it on “auto”. I want to learn all the camera settings and really start learning the basics. I take pretty great pictures with it, but it’ll be nice to really learn the ins and outs and take even better ones.

Use Duolingo at least 15 minutes every day. I’ve been off and on with Duolingo for years. I’ve been going through the Spanish language with it. My dad is Guatemalan and it would be nice to learn Spanish. We were never taught growing up. I want to start the program over and do it every single day for at least fifteen minutes (can be more if I feeling up to it), so I can finally learn the language.

Learn to cook/make more meals myself & eat healthier. I have no idea how to cook and I honestly never really try very much. I’ve started to sort of learn and actually try in 2019, but a lot of stuff is just boxed or canned and I would love to learn how to cook with more fresh ingredients and spices. I also want to make healthier meals, because we don’t always eat the best things and we eat out way too much.

Setup a daily exercise routine & lose 25 pounds. Toward the beginning of 2019 I started doing this monthly exercise challenges and I did it for three months straight. I thought I noticed some progress, but for some reason I just stopped doing it. I want to try again and exercise regularly. I would also like to lose 25-30 pounds. I know I’ve gained quite a bit of weight over the last few years, so it would be nice to get healthy and lose some pounds.

Start a bullet journal. I’ve always wanted to start a bullet journal. In 2018 I even got two bullet journals and a bunch of supplies (pens, washi tape, stencils, and stickers), but never got around to setting them up. More because I have no idea where to even start! So I want to possibly finally do this.

Change my last name. I got married in March 2017 and I still have not changed my last name officially. I did on Facebook (LOL), but not legally. Lots of things prevented me from doing it and then everything with buying a house and all of that, I just figured it would be easier to just keep everything to same for now. I want to finally change my last name.

Get my driver’s license. This is LOOOOONG overdue, seriously. I think it’s my anxiety that really prevented me from ever doing this, to be honest. Well, when I was in high school, the fact that I never went to school stopped me at first. But then I developed some major anxiety about the world and driving and that’s the main reason now. I really need to work on my fear of driving and the world, so I can practice and finally do it.

Go through my closet and donate clothes. I own so many clothes (the hubby too) and we don’t even wear half of them. I want to finally go through our dresser and closet to get rid of clothes to donate and finally organize our closet. It’s so hard letting things go sometimes, but like I said, we don’t wear half of the clothes we have.

Complete a few house projects. Our house while it’s really great, it’s also a work in progress, because there’s quite a few things I would love to change/update. I’m hoping to do a few more things this new year. Like finally paint our bedroom and redo the flooring in there. We have all the supplies, just never got around to doing it before the year ended. I would also love to repaint the kitchen cabinets and repaint the entire inside of our house. Also a few little inexpensive things like changing all the doorknobs on the bedrooms/closets/bathroom doors.

Go on a trip somewhere. We didn’t really get to travel last year and we don’t really get to that often. I want to plan a trip somewhere for a long weekend (or even an entire week). Possibly Savannah, GA or Colorado. I would even love to go visit Maren (The Worn Bookmark) in Minnesota. All of these are actually possible if we try for them. But even if we can only make it to one place this year, I would be happy.

Complete Kingdom Hearts 3 & Pokemon Sword. I really need to finish these games, especially Kingdom Hearts 3 as I’ve had it for awhile now and have been slacking with playing! I really enjoy the game, but just haven’t been in the mood to play lately. I’m probably halfway through it now. I started Pokemon Sword and got my third gym badge. I need to get back into it, because I feel guilty that I really wanted it and spent the money for it and then after awhile stopped playing. I enjoy the game as well. I guess I’ve been more focused on reading recently instead.

I really just want to find out who I am this year, because honestly, I don’t even know who I am anymore. 2019 really messed with my self-confidence and shattered who I thought I was.

Do you have any personal goals that you hope to accomplish in 2020? Feel free to link me to your posts if you have one.

In case you missed it;
2020 Reading Goals.
2019 Year in Books (Reading Stats).
Wrap Up|| December.

I hope you have a great day!

ashleyblack

Random|| Picture Update.

pictureupdate

Merry Christmas Eve Eve! 😀

Since it’s almost Christmas, I thought it would be fun to share all of my Christmassy pictures that I’ve taken over the last couple of months. Some you may have seen on Instagram (if you follow me) and some I haven’t posted yet. It’s going to be really picture heavy, just a heads up.

The first sets of pictures are from around our city (Lakeland). The Christmas tree pictures are from the big Christmas tree that they have up at Lake Mirror. I was sad I didn’t get a chance to see it at night (except from far away), but it’s still pretty in the daylight too.

Story behind these last two pictures. The hubby and I were walking away from the big Christmas tree and as we were walking away, Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus were walking by us! It was so random, but so cool. They were having a little photo shoot by the Christmas tree, haha. The second picture is a Christmas tree made from kegs from Swan Brewing. It’s a brewery we like to go to. My family was visiting one weekend and I took them there.

These next set of pictures are ones that I took at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. They were all decked out in Christmas decor. I would have loved to see it all lit up at night, but we never got the chance to.

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This last picture is from watching the retelling of The Grinch (Grinchmas) at Islands of Adventure. It was probably about thirty minutes, but it was really fun to see it acted out live.

These next set of pictures are from when my family and I went to this little Christmas event in Celebration, Florida. There was live music, SNOW (aka soap, LOL), and lots of fun Christmas things and decor to look at.

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Celebration, Florida was a cute little town and I wish we would have walked around the neighborhoods at night, because so many houses were decorated with so many decorations and lights. It would have been so cool to see. And most of the houses were HUGE (like the one I shared). Always next year! 😛

The hubby and I are spending Christmas with his family this year, so we will be leaving tonight to drive over there. We are both really looking forward to it. I will catch up with you guys after Christmas and I have a bunch of end of the year posts lined up, so be on the look out for them!

In case you missed it;
Book Tag|| Christmas Book Blogger.
Friday Finds #84.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

ashleychristmas

 

 

Random|| Life & Reading Update.

lifeupdate

Hey!

It’s been almost two weeks since my last update. I’ve been in a blogging slump, honestly. I’ve also been stuck in my head a little bit. So I’ve been trying to distract myself with reading, TV, games on my iPad, or recently the new Pokémon Sword game on Nintendo Switch. This year has been so weird for me and it’s kind of hard to explain. I guess maybe because there has been so many changes this year. A big one having moved four hours away from my family and not seeing them every single day.

I also feel like my anxiety has gotten so much worse too, which really sucks. I can’t really even tell people about it, because then I just get told I’m making a big deal or I need to “grow up” and to “stop being scared of the world”. 🙄 If it was that easy, then I would have stopped being this way a long time ago. It’s hard and it sucks. I feel lost and not very supported in my real life (outside of the blogging world). Dealing with things on your own is hard sometimes. Not having someone to talk to is hard sometimes. That’s why I get stuck in my head sometimes.

I don’t know if any of this made sense and I’m sorry if it didn’t. This has just been a really weird year for me and most of the time I just can’t put it into words. A lot of great things happened too, but I think my mental health took a hit this year. I’ve never experienced most of these feelings before or if I have, never as bad. It’s new and has been an adjustment, I guess. So I that’s why I’ve been distant around here and also in my real life. It’s been all about distracting myself this year, because if I don’t then I just constantly think about everything that bothers me and it makes me sad.

I decorated my house for Christmas, which I love. Here’s a couple pictures of the outside. Just did a couple touches of Christmas outside. I think we might put up some Christmas lights on our house. I really want to go all out Clark Griswold style, but I doubt that happens LOL. We also put up the Christmas tree too. I haven’t been able to take a good picture of it yet.


And here is a quick little reading update of what I read recently and what I may read next.

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I recently finished reading Autoboyography and The Unhoneymooners both by Christina Lauren. By the way, I just realized that Christina Lauren is TWO PEOPLE! Anyway, I really enjoyed both of these books so much. I need to read more from Christina Lauren.

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I think in my last reading update I said I was going to read Regretting You next, but I ended up reading The Unhoneymooners instead since it was a library book that was going to be returned soon. SOOO, I may be picking up Regretting You today. I am supposed to be getting my copy of The Queen of Nothing (I got the black Barnes & Noble edition) today or tomorrow, so I may also be picking that one up soon too. I’m actually scared to read The Queen of Nothing, because I really thought The Wicked King wasn’t that great. I guess we’ll see what happens!

Well, that’s all for this post. I just wanted to give a quick update on why I haven’t been around too much. I try to hop on to catch up with you guys at least once a week, so I will at some point this week. 🙂

In case you missed it;
Mini Review|| The Wives.

I hope you have a great day!

ashleyblack

Why I’ve Been in a Reading/Blogging Slump.

lifeupdate

Hey!

There are a few things I want to write about and the main thing being why I’ve been in a reading/blogging slump. This may get long! Right at the start of May (actually April 30) I was told that I may lose my job. Since that day I have been beyond stressed about what was going to happen with my job and what I was going to do, because we just bought a house in a new city four hours away from family! I currently do not have a license, I never got one as a teen for whatever reason. So it would make finding a new job a struggle. I currently work from home. I also have major social anxiety and talking to people I don’t know kind of freaks me out, so I was kind of just going crazy. What was I going to do? I can’t drive anywhere. I can’t talk to people. It was just a lot to deal with. FYI: I am going to start working on finally getting my license. It’s time!

When I found out about my job, I pretty much cried for a long time. Then I ignored everything happening and read book after book after book to escape that reality. That’s why in May I read so many books and got so many reviews posted. I was ignoring what was happening. I was also waiting to see what was going to happen with my job, because my boss told me he would let me know what is going on in June. Once June hit, I was so nervous waiting to see what my boss was going to tell me. So I stressed out so much and impatiently waiting for that email about what was going to happen. It finally happened 2-3 weeks ago and he told me I could work part-time. So that’s what is happening right now. I am still working, but part-time. It was a little bit of a relief to know I still had a job, but also a downer because it’s part-time. I also don’t feel secure with this job now. I feel like it could still end at any moment and that’s stressful and weighing on me a lot.

Another thing is that this week my work computer crashed and I lost all of my files. I lost all of the stuff that I use for my job. I now have to work on redoing everything. I had so many spreadsheets and starting over really sucks. I had five years worth of work stuff on that computer and a lot of it I use every day. So I’ve been annoyed with that and trying to remember the most important things and a way to start again. The last backup for some things I have date back to December, but the most important things that I use daily I didn’t have saved somewhere else. So now I am stressing about that on top of the work stuff.

My personal computer seems like it’s on it’s last leg too and I need a new computer. The problem is, buying a new computer. Computers are expensive! Now that I am working part-time, we are trying not to spend money as often. I need a new computer at some point, because I really don’t want to risk losing all of my personal stuff; like thousands of pictures and music. UGH. I want a brand new hard drive/tower (I have plenty of computer monitors so I don’t need that), but the hubby thinks we should get refurbished for now. I don’t want to do that, because I don’t want to risk a refurbished computer breaking down a year or two later. So I’ve just been stressed about that too.

I’ve been in this weird place in my head lately and I don’t like it. A lot of it has to do with work. Some of it has to do with the fact that I can’t spend money or do things like I was before. It is now all about saving, saving, saving. I hardly ever leave the house, which usually I’m fine with but lately not really. I want to go do things or buy things, but I can’t because we’re trying not to spend money until we figure out the job situation and what happens in the future with that. I was excited about buying this house, because we would get to fix it up how we wanted it and make it ours. We haven’t really been able to do anything with our house because of all of this. It’s frustrating and annoying and I hate it. I’m not even that excited about owning a house anymore, which is really sad!!

I feel like maybe I’m complaining, but honestly, I’m not the type of person that complains about anything. So this is all new and weird and I don’t like it. I’ve always been an “it is what it is” type person. I usually go with the flow and whatever happens, happens. I’m usually always happy and good vibes. The fact that I haven’t been that person in months sucks! This is not who I am and I don’t like it. I want to get back to my old self, but I’m not entirely sure how to get there. Even writing that line is making me start to cry. It’s so damn sad! I’ve never been like this before and I don’t know what this even is. I just want things to go back to normal, but I don’t think that can happen. At least not right now. I think our “normal” has changed too.

So with all of that being said, I haven’t been blogging much and I haven’t been reading much this month. It’s not because I don’t want to, believe me, I want to! My mind is drowning in other things/thoughts and I can’t seem to figure out a balance between everything. So instead I just do mindless stuff, like watch TV. I’ve been catching up on my DVRed shows and shows I’ve been wanting to watch on Hulu/Netflix that I haven’t gotten the chance to watch yet. I’ve also started exercising every day and I feel like I’m starting to finally see results. I still eat like crap, but whatever. Let me tackle one good thing at a time. LOL.

I also can finally say that I finished my two current reads; well technically I have like 50 pages left in one but it counts because I’m going to go finish it right now after I post this. I’ve been reading these same two books (Naturally Tan and Red, White & Royal Blue) for weeks now due to this reading slump. I’m so sad that this entire month I only read read three books. That’s not like me! My mind has just been elsewhere. I’m hoping that things will start looking up or that I can get out of whatever it is that I’m in in my head. I don’t even know how to classify it, because this has never happened to me before. I don’t even think I was this stressed when I was planning my wedding or even the process of buying a house. That all was a breeze compared to what I am feeling right now.

I am really hoping to finally do that picture update soon. Until then, here are my two favorite pictures that I took over the last month or so.

The first picture was when my friend and I went Pokemon hunting at Lake Mirror here in Lakeland, FL. All over Lakeland there are swans (real and fake) and this one has been my favorite that I’ve seen so far since living here. The second picture is when my family and I went to the beach. We were on a ferry when I took this picture, because we wanted to go to Caladesi Island and in order to get to the island you have to travel by ferry. I’ll have a post all about it with even more pictures soon. It was a fun time!

I think I will end this now (it’s gotten a lot longer than I thought), but hopefully I will be okay soon and you’ll see more of me soon. If I am a little MIA (missing in action), these are the reasons why. I’m still around, just not as much right now. I still try to blog hop and still try to post at least once a week if I can. It’s just harder with where my head is at and also the fact that I haven’t been reading much. Hopefully this all changes soon. Hopefully I can figure out some way to get out of my head and back to reality. Like I said, I just want to get back to my old self. I don’t like who I am lately and that’s never been the case before. I’ve always loved who I was. I’ve always been a happy person. I never let things bother me. Now it’s different and it’s really sad. I’m sad for myself, so much.

This weekend I am going to Cape Coral for my cousin’s son’s birthday party and I am really looking forward to that because I’ll get out of the house and because I’ll be able to see my family who I haven’t seen in almost a month. Do you have any plans for the weekend? What are you currently reading?

In case you missed it;
Top Ten Tuesday|| Most Anticipated Releases.
Mini Review|| Virtually Yours.

I hope you have a great day and weekend!

ashleyblack

Nature, Dinosaurs, & Other Things.

pictureupdate

Hey!

It’s been awhile since I’ve done one of these posts, so I figured I would do a quick little picture update! 😛 I have a ton more pictures that I could post, but I am running out of storage space on the blog again (ugh). I may have to upgrade again or figure out some other way. Here are some of the things I’ve been doing and pictures I’ve taken over the last few weeks.

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We (sister, hubby, and I) went to Circle B Bar Reserve again, but this time we checked out the lake area and OMG it did not disappoint. I was able to get so many awesome pictures and see so much cool wildlife. There were a ton of different birds and alligators! Luckily we survived and didn’t get eaten by any alligators, haha. The area was huge and we didn’t walk the entire thing, so we may have to check it out again ASAP! Here are some of the pictures that I took there. I took a lot, so I had to really narrow it down for this post.

We even seen some wild boar/pigs, which was pretty awesome! There was like a whole family of them. I couldn’t really get great pictures because I didn’t want to scare them away and my camera wasn’t cooperating with me, but I did get these two pictures. We seen some armadillos too.

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These is one of my favorite pictures that I took at the nature park. It came out so great and I am pretty proud of it, haha. My main focus was the butterfly, so I didn’t even notice there was a bee on the flower next to it. So that was a cool surprise when I was going through my pictures and noticed it.

On April 9th, it was my younger sister’s birthday. She’s only a year younger than I am. Her birthday happened to fall on a Tuesday, so we went Moe’s for her birthday. Taco Tuesday 😛 ! Moe’s is always so good! We also baked her a cake for her birthday. It came out really awesome. I think we are really getting into this cake decorating, haha. Over the weekend of that week we decided to check out Dinosaur World. It was a good time, but not something to do more than one time. Haha. It was interesting though. Here are some pictures of the dinos. I took a bunch, but again, had to narrow it down a lot for this post.

Below are just some random pictures that I’ve taken throughout the last few weeks.

And of course my furbabies. Top two pictures are of my boys and the bottom two pictures are of my girls.

That’s all for this post. I hope you enjoyed seeing all my pictures. You can follow me on Instagram if you want to see more or as I post them. Username: heyyitsashley. I am currently battling a cold, UGH. I knew it was coming, because yesterday I had a stuffy nose, but I woke up today feeling like such crap. Hopefully this doesn’t last long, because my family is coming to visit this weekend and I don’t want to feel bad when they are here. Anyway, I better go start my work day now.

In case you missed it;
It finally happened!!
Friday Finds #79.
Review|| Girls with Sharp Sticks.

I hope you have a great day!

ashleyblack

Random|| Picture Update.

pictureupdate

Hey!

Thought I would do a picture update since I haven’t really done one since my birthday and I haven’t really been reading very much this last week to do full posts about that. I will put a little reading update at the end of this post though. 🙂

On the second Thursday of every month Munn Park has food trucks, so my younger sister Stephanie and I decided to go check it out. It got us out of the house, because we spend 98% of the time in the house during the week. The 2% being when we go outside to check mail, take out garbage, walk the pup, or grocery shop. Remember how I mentioned stir crazy? Yeahhh. So we decided to go check it out and it was a nice day. Here are a few pictures from around the park.

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Now onto the FOOD! We went to two food trucks to get something to eat. We decided to try Southern Munchies and The Naked Cupcake. I loved the design and colors on the food truck for Southern Munchies. Funny story: I took a picture of the truck and forgot about it. My sister and I started talking while we waited our turn to order. I looked into the truck and I seen a man and I’m like “he looks so familiar, I know I’ve seen him somewhere” and then I glanced at the side of the truck and there he was, haha. So they designed their little character on the truck after the actual owner/cook. I thought that was so cool. He even had the purple hair in real life!

At Southern Munchies we both got donut hole sliders & fries. They were so delicious, but I think it would have been even better if they put some cheese on the little burgers. At The Naked Cupcake we got cupcakes, duh. 😛 I got a vanilla cupcake with strawberry frosting and sprinkles. My sister got a dulce de leche cupcake with white chocolate sprinkles. What I loved about The Naked Cupcake was you could get their standard cupcakes or you could design your own to be whatever cake, frosting, and toppings you wanted.

We ate and walked around for a little bit. I took a few more pictures from downtown area. I really can’t wait until the hubby is living here so we can go explore the city even more. Here are a few other pictures I took.

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Above is a picture of the Polk Theatre! I looked at their website and they play a lot of films there or host events there. Below are a couple of art banners. I thought they were cute and pretty funny.

I decided to add a little Easter touch to my dining table recently, so I found these little Easter eggs and glass bowl from Walmart for super cheap. It was about $6 to make this and it’s so cute. I love that I can just put anything into the bowl too to have as a centerpiece throughout the year. I’m thinking skull heads for Halloween. 😛

Me reading in the hammock and the hubby chillin in the hammock. We really love this hammock swing. I sit in it at least once a day, haha.

Below are some random sunset pictures, because you already know that I am obsessed with taking pictures of the sky, sunsets, and sunrises. LOL.

The next pictures are just a bunch of pictures that I’ve been taking of my furbabies throughout the last few weeks. I can’t help but take a ton of pictures of them.

Above are a couple pictures of my pup, Dax. He loves walks and spending time outside. He’s definitely really happy with his new yard.

Little Leaf. She loves sunlight and windows. Every morning she’ll take a nap in this spot when the sun comes out. And speaking of Leaf, she spends a lot of her day in my office with me, which is so cute. She also is so cuddly too and I love it. She is either laying next to me or on me. Below two pictures are Leaf laying in my lap while I worked.

October, I forever have heart eyes for her. She’s so pretty. She’s out a lot more now that we have this bigger house. She seems more happy, which I love. She’s still pretty skittish though, but I think that’s just part of her personality.

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ColbyJack, I love this dude. He’s been a pain in the butt since moving here, but hopefully he starts to chill out more once Andy is living here. Which will be this weekend! After this weekend he will start working up here.

And Digby! He’s Andy’s parents dog, but I’m dogsitting him this week. So I currently have a house full of pets. Two dogs and three cats, haha. It’s fine though and they all get along. Leaf loves him. They are always playing with each other and chasing each other around the house. Digby also spends a lot of time with me. He’s pretty much attached to me, so wherever I go he follows. The picture on the right (with me in it) you can see him sleeping on the little pillow in my office. He spends all day in here with me.

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This past week I’ve been kind of in a reading slump and trying out a bunch of different books. I tried to read a couple of my ARCs, but I wasn’t in the mood to read them at the moment, so I put them aside for now. I’ll pick them up soon though. I don’t want to force myself to read them when I’m not in the mood and end up not enjoying them. I decided to try out Jackaby, which is a book for my Alphabet Challenge. I’m actually really enjoying it. I get hella Sherlock vibes and I love that. I am also listening to the audiobook of The Priory of the Orange Tree. I’m a little over 100 pages into it (it’s an 800+ page book). Honestly, it’s so detailed and so much to remember that I don’t really know exactly what is going on. I kind of just forgot everything that I heard/read. UGHHH. Hopefully that’s not the case for the entire book, because it seems interesting. I just don’t want to be confused the entire time! Anyway, so that’s all for this update.

In case you missed it;
WWW Wednesday #57.
Friday Finds #76.
Random|| Birthday & Other Things.

I hope you have a great day!

ashleyblack