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|| 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

Random|| Life Update – New House!

lifeupdate

Hey!

Exciting news….the hubby and I did a thing…we bought a house on Friday (2/8)! We pretty much kept it secret and didn’t talk about it that much to anyone. I didn’t want to jinx things, because we really wanted this to work out! AND WELL….it did!

We are super stoked about it! We took a bunch of our stuff up there that we don’t use often. Funny story…so we brought an air mattress to sleep on, but forgot the air pump to blow it up. So I was like, okay, that’s okay. We have a big comforter we can lay on the the floor with….yeah, forgot that too. LMAO! So we had a ton of sheets and throw blankets to sleep on. Not the best sleep, but it is what it is. HAHA. We aren’t bringing our bed or other furniture until next weekend or the weekend after that.

My mom and aunt ended up coming on Saturday afternoon though and we went out to Walmart to get some stuff. She ended up buying us a couch/futon. It’s a futon, but when folded up it looks like a couch. It is really comfy and it’s really cute. She also bought a couple of air mattresses too, so next time we are good to go until we get all of our stuff up there! It’s currently about 3.5-4 hours from where we currently live.  Don’t mind the mess, we are moving in HAHA. 😛 We spent pretty much all Saturday morning cleaning and doing other things around the house until my mom and aunt got there.

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I haven’t taken any inside pictures yet (besides the one above), but I will probably do that once we are settled in. The weekend was just just crazy busy doing a ton of different things and I guess just taking it all in, because it’s like a huge step in our lives. It’s super cool though! We have SO MUCH space. It’s three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and there’s a bonus room (which we will use like a second living room/family room). The “bonus room” is actually pictured above. We already have a list of things we want to do, haha. That’ll be fun. 😛 We ate lunch on a piece of cardboard Sunday hahah, so we wouldn’t get the floor messy and because we wanted to watch TV. My mom left her hot spot for us to watch TV until we got our own internet setup on Sunday.

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We’ll be going back up Friday night to do some more cleaning and hopefully more organizing of things. The living room when you walk into our house currently has so many boxes, so hopefully we get some things put away and more organized before we bring in the rest of our stuff in the next week or two.

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I took my smaller lens ball with me and got this pretty awesome picture of our house. I’m kind of obsessed with how great this picture turned out. We also have this HUGE tree in our backyard and I’m totally living for it. I already have plans to hang a hammock chair from it. Perfect reading spot while the pup runs around the yard, haha. The yard is fenced in, but we’ll be eventually getting a privacy fence, but for now it’s fine.

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Our house is more in the country side of town, which we actually like. Lots of good picture taking opportunities in the future, haha. Also, there are cows, goats, and horses and lots of woods too. One house across the street before turning into our neighborhood has three goats in their front yard, LOL. The next few pictures aren’t the best quality because we were driving and I didn’t have my zoom lens on my Nikon or the correct setting, but here is some of the area. I definitely plan to get more later this week.

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So we’re now homeowners which is pretty neat! This year is going to be pretty crazy for us. New house, new city, but we’re super stoked to see what happens. We have so much work to do with packing, moving, unpacking so I may not be around too much like I mentioned previously. I apologize in advance! I didn’t even get to read that much this week, which sucked! Hopefully I can finish at least one book this week. I’m halfway through Crooked Kingdom, so I would love to be able to finish that one this week. Guess we’ll see what happens!

In case you  missed it;
WWW Wednesday #56.
Wrap Up|| January.
Book Haul|| January.

I hope you have a great day!

ashleyblack

Christmas 2018.

pictureupdate

Hey!

For Christmas this year were were able to go visit Andy’s parents. It had been a very long time since we’ve been able to have a Christmas with them. They live about 2-2.5 hours away from us. We left on Saturday morning and stayed until the afternoon of Christmas Day. We both had to work the next day, so we had to come home on Christmas.

On Saturday we went downtown to look at some Christmas decorations. Above are a couple of pictures that I took on the way to downtown. You have to drive over a bridge and the sun was starting to set, which was nice.

There are two houses downtown that put up a ton of Christmas decorations. Top two pictures are of one of the houses. For $5 you can go inside and see them all. I didn’t take a ton of pictures inside, because there was so just so much to see and I was pretty much living for everything. I did get a few though.

There were Christmas trees in every single room, it was pretty crazy and totally awesome! These above are some of the Christmas tree pictures that I was able to take and a few of my favorites.

These above are just some other random pictures that I took inside and out side of the houses. After we looked at the Christmas decorations, we went to get some food at 3 Pepper. It’s a Mexican restaurant. It was pretty good. No pictures though. I was starving and dived into my food right away.

After seeing the Christmas decorations and eating, we went back to the house and watched TV for awhile. I think I went to sleep pretty early every night we were there. I had a list of Christmas movies that I like to watch every Christmas, so we worked our way through my list of Christmas movies all weekend/Christmas. On Christmas Eve we had dinner and then Christmas Day we opened presents, had breakfast, and then ate Christmas “dinner” for lunch since we had to leave shortly after that. It was so a lot of fun and I’m glad we were able to spend Christmas with Andy’s family. Dax had a lot of fun being able to hangout with their pup Digby too.

Below are just a bunch of miscellaneous pictures that I took throughout the time we were there.

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We (Andy, his mom, and I) took the dogs on a walk around the neighborhood and the park that’s down the street from their house. These are all the pictures that I took on that walk. It was a really nice day out.

I seen a squirrel in the tree in Andy’s parents backyard and got pretty excited about that, because it was the perfect opportunity to try out my new zoom lens that Andy got me for Christmas. The squirrel was pretty vocal and basically screaming at my dog. HAHA. I think the pictures came out pretty great.

Andy’s parents have an orange tree in their back yard, which is always cool. We were able to pick some oranges to bring home with us. I had fun taking pictures of the tree. Left the orange picking to Andy, haha.

First picture is of Andy and I after we ate dinner of Christmas Eve. Second picture is just a random selfie of myself.

These last set of pictures are from a couple of weekends ago when we went to Lakeland to visit my friend. I figured I would include them as well.

Random view from her guest bedroom window on that Sunday morning. I’m a sucker for a pretty view, haha.

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We seen a house that had SO MANY Christmas lights and decorations, so I had to snap a picture. We also drove down another street and every single house on the street went ALL OUT with their decorations. I didn’t get any pictures, but I wish I had.

And these are just a couple pictures of her cat Bruce. He’s so cute, but he’s still unsure about me. HAHA. Once we are living in Lakeland, I am determined to make him love me. 😛 Although we did make some progress after I gave him some treats. Treats = friend?

Anyway, that’s my picture update for today. I had a great Christmas and we got so many wonderful presents (including an Instant Pot and an iPad Mini) from both our families. I ate a TON of food and candy, which was good and bad (because I totally over did it) haha. How was your holiday or weekend? I have five other blog posts that I am working on that will slowly be making there way onto the blog. Wrap up and book haul coming soon. I’ll have a 2019 reading goals post and a reading challenge I am hoping to tackle in 2019 coming as well. I still need to work on my end of the year book survey too. Be on the look out for a bunch of posts soon. 😀

In case you missed it;
TBB Asks: Holiday Edition.
Random|| Picture Update.

I hope you have a great day!

ashleychristmas

TBB Asks: Holiday Edition.

Hey!

I’ve been so busy with all my last minute Christmas stuff and life in general, so I haven’t been around the blog much the last week or two. Hopefully that changes soon. I need to catch up with you guys ASAP, promise! 😀 A lot of things happening right now, so my mind is preoccupied. Today though, I figured it would be fun to post this holiday themed blog post since Christmas is coming up soon and I’m not sure when I’ll get another chance to post. I seen Brandie (Running on Words and Wine) post this on her blog, so I figured I would too. I love Christmas. 😛

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Candy Canes? Yes or No?
I don’t mind candy canes. I don’t usually eat them by themselves very much anymore, unless it’s a mini one. When I was a kid I used to love eating them right off the Christmas tree though. I do love candy cane flavored things though! Especially chocolate, like peppermint bark. I LIVE FOR PEPPERMINT BARK!

Christmas morning early riser or sleep in?
Honestly, I’m an early riser period these days. So I guess I am an early riser on Christmas morning; as a kid I was too. As an adult, I’m more of an early riser because I get way too excited about giving everyone their gifts. LOL. I don’t even care about gifts myself, but giving gifts is my thing and so I get way too stoked about everyone seeing their gifts, haha.

Did you shop on Black Friday? 
This year I went to a couple places to see what kind of deals they had going on, but I don’t think I bought anything besides one DVD for myself. Normally, I don’t usually do Black Friday shopping. I don’t like big crowds and being around a lot of people at one time, so I usually stay home.

Christmas tree up in November? 
Yes, I love putting my Christmas tree up in November. I’m very guilty of this and I don’t even care. Judge all you want, but I love being able to enjoy my Christmas for as long as possible.

Do you get holiday ideas from Pinterest?
I love pinning holiday ideas in my Pinterest boards, but I don’t always do them. I guess I just collect pins. But if I was looking for an idea, I would definitely go to Pinterest.

Christmas Glam or Ugly Sweater?
Ugly sweater, for sure. I’m not the “glam” type of person. I don’t really dress up and I definitely do not wear any makeup at all. I’m all about jeans, converse shoes, and ugly sweaters.

Stocking Stuffers: Wrapped or unwrapped?
As much as I love wrapping gifts, I don’t usually wrap stocking stuffers. Depending on the size of the gift, I will though; but very rarely.

Traditional or Modern Christmas songs?
Traditional Christmas songs. I don’t really listen to new Christmas music (or Christmas music in general), so I don’t know what all modern Christmas songs are out there or that come out. So I know and am used to the old traditional Christmas songs/versions of the old songs. I do love the Hanson Christmas album though, haha.

Fruitcake?
Never had it. I don’t even think I’ve ever seen one, but I hear they’re gross so I probably would never try it.

Is your Christmas shopping finished?
Yes! All prezzies are bought and wrapped. My Christmas shopping is officially done as far as buying gifts goes. I do have to stop by the bank before Christmas to get some money for my niece and nephew as their gifts, but it’s done.

Is there snow in December where you live?
Sadly, no. I live in Florida and there’s no snow here. On the rare occasion it’ll snow in northern Florida, but hardly ever, especially not in South Florida where I currently live. When I used to live in Illinois as a kid, it snowed and that was fun.

Classic Show: A Charlie Brown Christmas or Rudolph?
A Charlie Brown Christmas, always. I love Charlie Brown anything, so I always make it a point to watch the Christmas show every year. As I do with all the holidays where there is a Charlie Brown special.

This weekend we’re going to Andy’s parents house for Christmas, so I will be pretty busy with that. I’m excited though since we haven’t had Christmas with them in such a long time. What are you holiday plans?

In case you  missed it;
Random|| Picture Update.
December TBR.
Wrap Up|| November.

I hope you have a great day!

ashleychristmas