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

Random|| Picture Update.

pictureupdate

Hey!

I haven’t updated since last Friday, ahhh. I’ve been meaning to, but have just been really busy and pretty stressed about things. My sister was in the hospital for a week and that ended up being such a disaster (hospital’s fault). She’s finally home though and recovering, so that’s good. We’ve also been busy packing, but another post on this another time.

These are some random hospital views from my sister’s hospital room and from another room in the hospital. Hospital food is gross, by the way. We had to eat dinner there once. I will say though, they had some pretty amazing french fries. The other food I got wasn’t the greatest.

Pictures of my niece (Grace) and my nephew (Jackson). I spent a lot of time keeping an eye on them while their mom was in the hospital. One night I cooked them dinner; grilled cheese, simple, right? WRONG. It’s not surprise that I don’t know how to cook, but apparently I can’t even cook a grilled cheese. By time I got to making the third and forth one, they were burning. I even burnt the pan so bad and burned the shape of the bread into the pan LMAO. The burn still won’t come out of the pan. Haha. They still tasted good though. That’s all the matters? 😛

We have a bird feeder (left) hanging over an empty pot that has some dirt in it. Well thanks to all the little birdies that eat from the feeder, we now have this random sunflower growing. It actually already bloomed, but I haven’t had the chance to take a picture yet. Pretty neat! It also looks like we might have some wheat growing in the pot too, lol!

Random things with the hubby. We went to Target to get some containers for my books and they put in a new Harry Potter section at the store. We were walking through the store and also seen a random Sorting Hat photo prop. I made him take a picture, lol. He’s taken the test on Pottermore a couple years ago and got sorted into Hufflepuff. We also got shaved ice from that new place that opened up near us. I talked about it in my last picture update. It’s so good!

Random pictures of Leaf and Dax. I don’t have any new pictures of October and Colby right now. Actually quite a surprise, because I am forever taking pictures of my furbabies, haha.

Shark Week started last Sunday, so it was fitting I wear my shark shirt. I LOVE sharks and I LOVE Shark Week. I’ve been so busy this week though and haven’t had the chance to watch all the new Shark Week shows. I am hoping I get some time soon, because I have A LOT of them. They usually do like 2-3 new shows a night and it’s for six nights I believe. So that’s a lot of shows I need to catch up on. I’ve recorded them all to my DVR though, so that’s good. And a random selfie.

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La luna y la estrella ♡ I got this really neat picture on my iPhone of the moon and a star right next to it! I thought it was really cool. I tried with my camera, but it just wasn’t working out for me, so I decided to just get this shot with my phone.

A new BBQ restaurant opened up down the street from our house. Like it’s literally at the end of our street. So my mom and I finally decided to check it out. Since it’s right down the street, we decided to walk there. On the way home I seen this bush with these little yellow flowers and thought it was really pretty. Yesterday after work I seen this spiked caterpillar on a plant as I was leaving.

A random sunset picture. I was also trying to mess around with the manual mode on my D3400 again. I still have yet to master it. I just haven’t had the time to really do much with it. Hopefully that changes soon. Anyway, I got these really pretty pictures of the sky and silhouetted trees.

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Another sunset picture, because you guys know I live for taking pictures of the sky/sunsets/sunrises. This was on our way from having dinner with the hubby’s parents when they flew back in from vacation. It was raining, but it made this picture pretty amazing. I focused on the raindrops instead of the sky and I love how it turned out. I used my phone for this one.

I created a page on my blog arcs/review books. It’s going to be home to all of the books that I have been sent by publishers and authors. I mentioned how I wanted to create a blog post for it, but I decided to do it as a page instead. That way I can update it throughout the year and then when a new year rolls around, I can clear it and start again with a new year of review books. It’s linked above, so feel free to check it out! Hopefully it’ll also keep me on top of my reviews and books. I have been really busy this year though, so I fell a bit behind. I am still hoping to read them all this year if I can. If not, I will still get to them ASAP!

Tomorrow I am going to Lake Placid to help my cousin move. Her and her husband just bought a house and they finally closed on it earlier this week. My mom and I are going after I get off work and staying until at least Saturday night, possibly even until Sunday. I am excited to go, because a new place to take pictures, lol. Anyway, that’s all for this post! I will hopefully catch up with your posts later today or tomorrow. 🙂

In case you missed it;
Friday Finds #74.
Book Tag||My Blog’s Name in Books.

I hope you have a great day!

ashleyblack

Random|| Picture Update.

pictureupdate

Hey!

It’s been almost three months since I’ve done one of these posts and I don’t even know where to begin with it. I don’t remember what I have and haven’t posted already. So there may be a few repeats. I love posting these type of posts and my pictures, but when I go so long without doing one then I have no clue where to begin again, ahhh. 😛  Warning this is probably going to be REALLY picture heavy, because there’s probably 60+ pictures.

Feel free to follow me on Instagram (heyyitsashley)! A lot of these haven’t been posted on my Instagram yet, so you’re seeing them first! Eventually they’ll make their way on there. I take so many pictures and don’t want to post a million at one time, so I hoard pictures to post later, lol. Anyway, onto my pictures!

Let’s start with FOOD, because food is amazing. 😛

I stumbled upon this restaurant called “I Heart Mac & Cheese” and holy crap I was in heaven. I needed to go their, ASAP! Last week the hubby’s parents came down to visit and they took us there and it was great. I got the pulled pork mac & cheese. SO MUCH CHEEEEESE!

Recently the hubby and I tried a new pizza place (it’s amazing and we’ve already gone twice in like a week and a half) and we also tried a new burger place that was really great too. The burger place is called BurgerFi and the pizza place was called D’Salvos.

This new shaved ice place opened up down the street so we tried it out for my aunt’s birthday. It was really good. They sell alcoholic drinks in kind of shaved ice form and they were good. No picture of the drink, but I do got a picture of the shaved ice we got too. Also, their interior decor is amazing. One wall is painted like the ocean/sky. The ceiling has lights that are printed with clouds on them. The floor is like the ocean. And the table is sea glass. I accidentally deleted my picture of the floor. They also have a chalkboard wall so you can write/draw on it.

The shaved ice is blueberry. It’s sitting on the shaved ice table. The ocean/sky scene in the background is one of their walls. Below is my mom writing on their chalkboard wall and the top right corner is their sky/cloud lighting. SO COOL! 🙂

Alright, moving right along. Onto, furbabies!

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A year ago yesterday my little Leaf turned one (well technically she turned one in June, but I got her in July so that’s her new birthday). I tried so hard for days to get pictures of her in the birthday hat, but she just wasn’t having it. So I got pictures of her eating the birthday hat instead? They are all still pretty cute pictures though. I am so stoked we decided to keep her. We love her so much.

We’ve been dogsitting the hubby’s parents’ dog and Leaf and Digby love each other so much. It’s cute. They’ve been playing so much together to. 😀 Here is another picture of Digby, because I have a problem with taking pictures of animals. 😛

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My four! Dax, Leaf, October, ColbyJack.

And some pictures of them loving each other.

Some other misc. pictures. First two are the cats are when I was trying to relax in the bath, but they all wanted to watch me. WEIRDOS. Third picture of me walking the pup. And the last picture is Leaf photobombing my picture of October.

Now onto nature type pictures. First up, the sky.

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Next, flowers and plants.

First picture is a shadow of some leaves on the side of our house. I really love how it turned out.

The rest are just some random pictures.

Some really neat buildings I’ve seen. The first picture each shop is a different color. Second picture is a parking garage that is painted to be a sunset (or sunrise). The entire parking garage isn’t picture. It’s HUGE.

A couple different pictures of the moon.

Playing with sparklers with my nephew and sister. My nephew didn’t a bunch of scribbles with his sparklers while I took a picture. My sister tried to write things out. Got this really cool one of an “A” she did. Last picture is just me holding the sparkler.

The hubby’s eye, lol. For some reason I really LOVE this picture though. And the second picture is of me and my new glasses! 😛  I really love these glasses.

And DONE! So many pictures. There’s even more pictures that I probably didn’t post, but trying to figure them out will be so hard. I’ll just leave you with these and hopefully I don’t let myself go months without doing another one of these posts. I will hopefully catch up with all of your posts at some point this week. I hope you had a great weekend!

In case you missed it;
Travel|| Black Point Marina.
Wrap Up|| June.
Book Haul|| June.

I hope you have a great day!

ashleyblack

Random|| Life Update.

lifeupdate

Hey!

So I think I am battling a reading slump, which totally sucks! I was flying through books this month. I was making pretty big progress with my June TBR (check it out here). I read seven books (most were graphic novels) and then finished another that I had started in May. That’s eight books I read at the beginning of this month and I read them so fast too and I think I burned myself out, to be honest. My current read Love, Hate, and Other Filters goes back to the library in SIX DAYS and I am not anywhere near to finishing it, because I haven’t been in the mood to read. I am really enjoying it too and that makes it worse, in my opinion.

I also have things happening in my life that are taking over brain space. My mind is elsewhere. I’ve even neglected finishing some school stuff, ugh. I have a lot of things that need to happen in such a short amount of time. I try to stay composed though and realistically, I probably brush off a lot of important things. If things don’t make me happy or things I don’t want to do, then I tend to ignore doing those things for as long as possible. I also have this mindset that whatever happens, happens. I mean, that’s a pretty good mindset…to an extent. It’s good for things that are not really in your control. What’s happening now was totally in my control…

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I am a huge procrastinator, not going to lie. Example: I’ve known I was going to be moving for probably almost a year now and I have done nothing to move the process along to make it go more smoothly. I have three months now and….I’m fucked? Everyday I procrastinate things and then things happen that are no longer in my control and my trusty (not full proof, by the way) motto pops into my head “whatever happens, happens”. So when I say my mind is elsewhere, it’s on what the heck am I going to do about moving?

Where? How? How much is this going to cost? Savings? What savings? Things come up and there goes the savings. What about all the crap the hubby and I own? We own so much damn stuff, ughhh. What happen to minimalism this year? I had plans to toss pretty much all our stuff this year… <— I put that idea to the side and decided i’d come back to it later the next day after thinking it. I have four animals, who’s going to rent to someone with three cats and a dog? I’m sure there is ways around this, but I get paranoid they’ll find out and then we’ll be screwed. BLEHHHH. Life.

What about work? I am socially awkward (hence my blog name) and I also have MAJOR social anxiety…so the fact that I have to talk to my boss about potentially moving away but still REALLY wanting to keep my job is freaking me the hell out. I have the type of job that I can do it from home if needed. I have panic attacks thinking about this. If he says no, then we have to stay here; in this expensive city that realistically we just can’t afford anymore. Or if my boss says no and we still move to the cheaper city that I really want to move to, what am I going to do about a job? I can’t talk to people. SOCIAL ANXIETY SUCKS. I can’t handle finding a new job. Even thinking this is a possibility is scary as hell!

So what do I do when I can’t handle things? I pretend this is all a non-existent thing in my life and go about my life; doing whatever it is that I want to do instead of what I NEED to do. Sometimes I like to think I work harder (maybe even better) under pressure or a deadline, because I literally have no other choice but to do the work now that there is no time to stall or that word again…procrastinate. That’s not a good way to go about life either, by the way. Everything is a lot easier when you give yourself time to actually do things instead of trying to do a million things in a short amount of time on top of your regular life stuff. It only drives you crazy.

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I honestly had no intentions of this post to turn out like this. I was actually going to tell you guys I was in a reading slump and then post pictures that I took while at the park with my sister a couple weeks ago. I am so tired of adulting. Not that I really do much of it aside from pay my bills on time. That’s probably the only thing I got right as far as this adult thing goes. Sometimes I buy vegetables. I think I rambled way too much and I think I needed to just vent this all somewhere.

Anyway, this is part of why I’ve been so MIA on here. It’s also what kick-started this reading slump. I have so many things I need to figure out. I also need to figure out how to get over my fear of talking to my boss, because I really need to do it ASAP. The sooner the better, especially because we need to do know if we’re staying or going. Enough of that though. Here’s a lens ball picture of me that my sister took. I was taking a picture of her taking a picture of me through the lens balls, lol.

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I’ll share all of my other pictures soon. I have some from when my sister and I went to a park. I also have some from when we visited our dad and we went to another park. And then a TON more from the last 2.5 months. I’m sorry if I continue to be a little less active for awhile. This post pretty much explains why and also what my life is going to be like the next few months trying to figure all of this out!

In case you missed it;
Book Tag|| Mid-Year Freak Out.
Thoughts|| Be Prepared.
Thoughts|| All Summer Long.

I hope you have a great day!

ashleyblack

 

Travel|| Butterfly World.

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Hey!

The hubby and I celebrated our one year wedding anniversary over the weekend (March 25th). We decided to finally check out Butterfly World. I’ve been wanting to go for so long now. Here are a bunch of pictures that I took while there.

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There are different sections of Butterfly World. These first four pictures below are part of the area where the butterflies are. The garden area was really pretty.

These next set of pictures are of some of the butterflies. It wasn’t easy getting pictures when they were flying around like crazy. There were some that did land though, so that was cool. There were so many big butterflies and they were all so pretty too. My favorite were the blue ones, but it was so hard to get pictures of them; they never landed and when they did it was with their wings folded. With their wings folded, they weren’t blue. I did manage to get one picture with a few of them flying though (toward the bottom of the set of pictures).

A butterfly even landed on the Andy’s hand! That was pretty neat. We were just walking around and it landed on him. I was totally jealous, haha. I wanted one to land on me, but I knew I would have probably freaked out if one did. LOL. When they were all flying at me, I was freaking out. So probably a good idea they didn’t.

Once you leave the butterfly area, there are some other little garden areas with flowers and birds. There was also this cool suspension bridge.

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Walking across the suspension bridge you run into a little area that had some Macaws. They were really cool and I loved their colors. There were also some other little birds around. I got a few pictures of them, because they mostly just flew around.

Another garden area with some random flowers and plants. There was a monarch butterfly on one of the flowers, so I was able to get a few pictures of that which ended up honestly being my favorite pictures of the day. Below are the flower pictures.

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Overall, it was really neat, but I wouldn’t say that it was worth the price. It was $30 a person and it only took us 20-30 minutes to walk through the entire thing. If I wasn’t stopping to take pictures, it would have taken even less time. It was still really pretty and the butterflies were really awesome. I still really enjoyed it and happy that we went at least once. We ended up walking through it twice, because I didn’t like that we spent $60 for a 20-30 minute walk-through. The second time around we decided to sit down in the butterfly garden area and let the butterflies fly around us.

I got some good pictures though, so that was nice. I also got to hangout with Andy, which is always great. It’s rare that we have days off together. He has to ask for the day off work or I have to ask for the day off work in order for that to happen, so we don’t always get to do a many things together. I am pretty stoked that we got to hangout for our anniversary. We even got P.F. Chang’s for dinner and it was so good. I still think about that sesame chicken and dumplings days later.

That’s all for this post! Hopefully I’ll have a review of Love and Other Carnivorous Plants posted in a few days. I don’t have much left to read. I also really want to finish it before the end of March. I want to go into April with no unfinished books, because I have a ton of review books that I need to get to. I think I have at least 4-5 books that I need to read and review. I’ll have my book haul post in the next couple days too. I have quite the haul this month.

In case you missed it;
Travel|| Biscayne National Park.
Friday Finds #72.

I hope you have a great day!

ashleyblack