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

Tag|| This or That.

booktag

Hey!

It’s been awhile since I’ve done a tag on my blog. I am going to just jump right into it. Thank you Crystal @ Paper Royalty for tagging me to do the This or That Challenge. 🙂

INTROVERT OR EXTROVERT

I am definitely an introvert. People give me anxiety. Social situations give me anxiety. I much prefer a quiet place. It’s actually kind of annoying, because a lot of the things I want to do in life involve people or crowds of people….the struggle.

WIN THE LOTTERY OR WORK AT THE PERFECT JOB

This is a tough one, but I think I would probably rather win the lottery. I honestly just want to travel the world and take pictures, so if I won the lottery it would make that happen for me.

READING OR WRITING

100% reading. I am not a very good writer and I don’t really have any creative stories floating around in my head and wouldn’t even know where to begin. Books though…I want to read ALL THE BOOKS.

BREAKFAST OR NO BREAKFAST

I wasn’t really a breakfast person, but now that I started to work from home I eat breakfast. I usually eat yogurt and apples for breakfast.

MARVEL OR DC

Neither. I don’t like superhero stuff, to be honest. I think I’ve only ever watched like two superhero movies before and never read any comics. They just don’t interest me.

TV SHOWS OR MOVIES

I would have to go with TV shows. Movies are great and all, but I much rather watch a TV show. Sometimes it feels like there is too much invested time into watching a movie and with a TV show they are usually 30-minutes, so it doesn’t feel like forever. Even though I end up binge watching an entire season/series in one day. LOL. I just like the idea that I can stop after an episode, but you can’t really do that with a movie. Also, TV show episodes can be different than the previous ones; which is nice.

FRENCH FRIES OR SALAD

Ooooh this is a hard question, because I LOVE french fries. I would go with salad though, because you can change up a salad in so many different ways. I’ve also been eating a salad every single day for lunch for the last 2-3 months and I don’t hate it. 😛

DYED HAIR OR NATURAL COLOURS

I always pin ideas of different ways to dye my hair, but it makes me nervous haha. So right now it’s forever natural.

LEGGINGS OR JEANS

I am more of a leggings person, because I can never find jeans that fit me the way that I want them to. Like just recently I ordered skinny jeans online at Target but when I got them…they were NOT skinny jeans on me. That’s one of my huge problems. I have skinny legs and pant/jean legs NEVER fit me correctly. Blehhhh. So leggings all the way.

DISNEY CLASSIC OR PIXAR

I haven’t really watched a Disney or Pixar movie in such a long time. If I had to choose, I guess I would go with Disney Classic. I love Aladdin & Peter Pan so much.

I tag:

Marie @ Drizzle & Hurricane Books
Kelly @ Another Book in the Wall
Brandie @ Running on Words and Wine
Maren @ The Worn Bookmark

In case you missed it;
WWW Wednesday #60.
Review|| Happy Messy Scary Love.
Friday Finds #80.

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

Random|| Birthday & Other Things.

pictureupdate

Hey!

On Sunday (March 3rd) was my birthday! It was mostly spent just relaxing at home, because my childhood best friend’s wedding was later that night. It was nice though! We decided to go to Sonny BBQ for dinner the night before to celebrate, which was awesome.

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On Sunday afternoon we walked around a little shopping area and got cupcakes from Smallcakes. So good! Andy got a margarita cupcake, my younger sister got a peanut butter cup cupcake, and I got a chocolate & vanilla cupcake. My sister paid for them for my birthday, which was nice of her.

We also went to Books-A-Million, because it’s in the same shopping area and I can’t go to a bookstore without stopping in to look around! I decided to get one book, which was Tales of King Arthur & The Knights of the Round Table. I love anything King Arthur and this edition was in the bargain books section and only $10. I love the gold shiny cover so much! It has little illustrations inside as well. I can’t wait to read it. It’s probably one of those books that I’ll most likely read a story at a time and pick it up at random times to continue to another story, if that makes any sense.  I could have gotten so many more books, but decided I better not haha. After that we went to Rocket Fizz, so Andy could get some sodas. I skipped on the saltwater taffy that I usually get when we go to Rocket Fizz. But now that we are living in this area, I can go whenever and don’t need to stock up like I usually do, haha.

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Onto some birthday gifts! I got most of my gifts days early, but I was fine with that! 😛 I got a lot of things that I really wanted, which was nice. My older sister got me a hammock chair for my birthday and my mom got me the little table to put next to my hammock. I am so stoked that I got a hammock chair, because I actually really wanted one since we have this huge tree in our yard that’s perfect for it. It’s so comfy! It came with two pillows as well, which is awesome. I would have eventually bought one for myself, but it was a nice surprise to see that my sister got it for me! Perfect reading/chill spot.

My aunt bought me these coasters, which are pretty hilarious. I am all about coasters now…does that mean I’m becoming a real adult? Andy’s parents got me the essential oils air diffuser, which I really wanted. My mom has one and her house always smells good, so I am stoked to have one now.

Andy got me Crash Bandicoot for our Nintendo Switch and the Monsters Inc. Sora Funko Pop. I loved Crash Bandicoot as a kid and this game has the first three Crash games in one! I remember mentioning on my Instagram Stories a couple weeks ago how I hoped they would make a Funko of the Monsters Inc. Sora from Kingdom Hearts 3 and it’s a thing!! So when Andy asked me what I wanted for my birthday, I sent him that.

Around 3pm we started to get ready for my friend’s wedding. We wanted to get there early to make sure we found the place on time. Good thing too, because the address on the invitation ended up taking us to some other place! We eventually found it, so that was great. Her wedding was so beautiful. I didn’t really take any pictures at the wedding, because they asked for cameras to be put away during ceremony and at the reception we were just having fun and I didn’t really have my phone out. I did take a picture of the decorations on the table. It was nice seeing my friend get married. She and her husband looked so happy. I was able to say HI to her brothers and sister too, who I haven’t seen in YEARS. Last time was most likely around my eighth grade year in middle school! So it’s been a long time since I’ve seen her family.

Here are some random pictures that I took while we walked around the area that the wedding was taking place, which is called Lake Mirror. The building and swan were just in random places in downtown Lakeland. It’s so pretty there and I was able to get a ton of great pictures!

On Monday (March 4th) my cousin came over with her husband and son to see my house and visit. They bought us some housewarming gifts. A little ottoman filled with towels, toys for my dog and cats, some random misc. food, and a Presto Pizzazz (rotating pizza oven). That was really nice of them. I am really excited about the Presto Pizzazz! You can make so many things from frozen pizza, homemade pizza, other frozen food (like pizza rolls, bagel bites, chicken nuggets), sandwiches (like grilled cheese), cookies!!!, and even s’mores!! I am totally trying out making s’mores on this thing!

This weekend my older sister, niece, and nephew are going to come visit for the weekend. They haven’t had the chance to see my house yet besides videos or pictures, so that’ll be nice having them visit for the weekend. Anyway, that’s all for this post! I’ll have another picture update soonish with random pictures that I took throughout the last week or two that are not a part of this post/day.

In case you missed it;
Review|| Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee.
Wrap Up|| February.
Book Haul|| February.

I hope you have a great day!

ashleyblack

Hello, Central Florida.

lifeupdate

Hey!

Friday was moving day! We packed up the truck on Thursday night and Friday after work we packed up the kitties and the pup and hit the road to our new house. It’s a four hour drive from where we were living. I was so nervous about the cats in the car for four hours, because they hate the car! They cry non-stop in the car. Luckily the hubby took two of them and I only had to take one in my sister’s car. He took the two that are most scared, so I didn’t have to listen to them crying the whole time. It’s always so sad. Leaf (littlest and the one we took) didn’t make a peep! See took it like a champ. Andy said the other two cried 3 of the 4 hours. 😭

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We made it around 10pm and started to unload some of the truck before it started raining. We did the rest the next day (Saturday). On Saturday I unpacked a lot of things and tried to put as much away as I could. The kitchen is pretty much done and so are our clothes. There’s still so much more to do though, sigh. My right arm is killing me today from all the moving and unpacking. Hopefully I can get a lot more done today though. We’ll see what happens!

My younger sister came up with us, because she’ll be staying with me until Andy comes up and until she goes back on the road (she was a truck driver and may go back to that job). She slept a couple nights in the room that will be my office/library until we finished the floor & borders in the guest room (pictures later in the post). I can’t wait until my desk gets here (Wednesday) and eventually be able to buy some bookshelves so I can unpack my books.

The cats took the new house in different ways. October is the shy one that’s scared of everything. Never likes being pet or anything. Always hides. Well…she’s loving it here! She’s out and about and very happy. She even lays with us and wants attention, which was never a thing about her before! She was the one I was most worried about when it came to this move, but she seems so happy. She loves all the windows. She spends a lot of time laying or sitting in front of different windows around the house.

ColbyJack (oldest) was not a happy camper. He spent a lot of time growling and hissing and just being grumpy. He also hid 90% of the time. Little Leaf wasn’t really sure about the house either. She hid majority of the time too. I really thought they would be cool about it, haha. Totally the opposite than I thought! I’m so happy about October though. I really worried about her. They other two kitties seem to be getting used to the house now though, so that’s a plus. I think that now that it’s not as chaotic, they are coming around.

My pup Dax loves the house. He’s been here before this weekend. We brought him up last weekend and he was so happy. He was even rolling around in the backyard. He has his own yard now! We didn’t have one at the last place and he’s never really off a leash outside often. Now he can be. At first he wasn’t sure about it, but by the end of the weekend he was rolling around in the yard.

There’s still so much to do, but I have plenty of time to do it. Hopefully by the end of the week it’ll be mostly done. 🙂 Here are some other random pictures I’ve taken at the new house from last weekend and now.

We’ve been in the process of changing the floors in one of the bedrooms as I mentioned. We took the carpet out and put a dark brown wood laminate flooring. Next I need to paint the walls in the room. I’m unsure what color I want, but I think it’ll be some kind of shade of white. There’s so many shades of white!! We were going to do our bedroom with this same flooring, but I think we may use something else. I want to find a similar color though. We have other remodeling/updating that we want to do to the house, but that’ll come in time.

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Second bathroom (not the master bathroom). This room is currently probably the nicest/cleanest room in the house right now, haha. We currently have boxes EVERYWHERE. I’ll be taking recycle out for weeks before we finally get all of them out of the house.

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My boss gave us a ton of furniture. The dining table and barstools above are some of the pieces that he gave us. The dining table glass is supposed to have that shattered glass look/effect. Andy thought it was broken, but according to the description and my boss it’s supposed to be like that lol. The dining table also has a leaf and two more chairs that we didn’t put out yet. Four is more than enough for us right now. Colby loves that table. He’s been out more now that we have it up. I love the bar stools. They are all the same shade (more the middle stool color), but the lighting and shadow makes them look different.

I’ll have more pictures of the rest of the house another time once we get everything put away and cleaned up. So far this is what is done. So until then, below are some random pictures I’ve taken of the area and outside of my house.

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I seen the below banner hanging up on a window when we were driving through some of downtown Lakeland. A lot of the buildings have different banners of art like this hanging on their walls. We were driving or I would have taken a picture of them all.

Some random flowers and plants growing in my yard. I’m pretty sure the white ones and the orange ones only grew because the grass needs cut. I hate to see them go, but I love that I have this plant in my yard that grows these really pretty pink flowers.

These are all of the tree in my backyard. I take pictures of it every single time I am here, lmao. All different views at least. I got some close ups, some of the branches, and some through my lens ball.

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I took this picture of my tree when we got here on Friday night for my Instagram stories (heyyitsashley) and I was looking at the picture after I posted it and with the lights/shadows it looked like a face and made me think of Grandmother Willow from Pocahontas, haha. 😛

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The sky this morning from my front door. Forever heart eyes. It was actually 60 degrees outside too, which was so nice.

All week will most likely be spent cleaning and putting things away in the house during breaks at work and after work. I have so much to do. I also forgot that we have a ton of boxes that we put in the closet. I plan to go find the library and get a library card this week too. I’m hoping to finish one more book before the end of the month to include in my wrap up, which will be posted in the next few days as well as my book haul. I’ll also try to catch up with your posts at some point this week as well and reply to comments.

In case you missed it;
Random|| Life Update – New House!
Review|| Just for Clicks.
Friday Finds #75.
Review|| Comics Will Break Your Heart.

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

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

 

Photo A Day|| April 1-4.

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Hey!

I’ve been taking part in monthly photo a day challenges on my Instagram account (heyyitsashley) and I’ve been having a lot of fun with them (when I don’t fall behind on pictures). I figured I would also cross post them to my blog as well. I think for the purpose of blogging, I will post 3-5 per blog post that I do throughout the month. That way I am not spamming my blog with a million photo a day posts back to back. You can follow me on Instagram (linked above) if you want to see them daily though! Some of these pictures will be taken with my Nikon. There will also be some taken with my iPhone.

Days 1-4 of April.

This month the topics are the alphabet and the first week or so being numbers.  Coming up with a picture idea for numbers hasn’t been that easy. By the way, my caption game has not been on point so far this month. Emojis for everything. 😛

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Instagram Caption: happy easter! 🐣🐰 || photo a day • one.
Camera:
iPhone.

Took this one on Easter. I knew I wanted to use an Easter egg, because I wanted to post a “Happy Easter” picture. I love how this one came out. There were actually two pictures I took and I could not decide which one to use for my photo a day picture on Instagram. I chose this one and ended up posting the other one to Facebook. I’ll share the other one in another post when I do photo update post that I usually do. I think it’s been awhile since I’ve done one, actually.


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Instagram Caption: ❤️🧡💛 || photo a day • two.
Camera:
Nikon.

You may have seen this picture if you checked out my Butterfly World post (here). I decided to use it for this day, because I really wasn’t sure what to post for “two” and remembered these two guys and I hadn’t shared it to Instagram yet.


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Instagram Caption: 💜💜💜 || photo a day • three. 
Camera: 
iPhone.

I actually skipped this day until this morning when I was randomly taking pictures of some flowers. When I was looking at my pictures after I took it I seen there were three purple flowers that stood out, so I decided to post it a day late.


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Instagram Caption: 💙☁️🌳☀️ || photo a day • four.
Camera: 
iPhone.

I was trying to come up with ideas all morning for this one and then I seen the number “four” on my building at work. Took the easy way out and took a picture of it. It actually turned out really cool though, because you can see the reflection of the sky and trees on the number plate.

In case you missed it;
Wrap Up|| March.
Thoughts|| Love and Other Carnivorous Plants.
Book Haul|| March.

I hope you have a great day!

ashleyblack

Wrap Up|| March.

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Hey!

March flew by pretty fast. I had a pretty busy month, as far as regular life goes. Fun stuff though! I had a birthday in March, celebrated the hubby and I’s first wedding anniversary, I got to visit my dad, I got to check out a new nature park (check it out here), I got to finally go to Butterfly World (check it out here), I got to go see Disney on Ice, I signed up for school and I am doing really well with the school work. Pretty awesome month, I would say!

Beast’s library that he gave to Belle is so much bookshelf goals!

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One of many pictures I took at Disney on Ice. I’ll post more in another post another time.

As far as reading goes, I didn’t read nearly as much as I had hoped to in March since I was so busy. I still read four books though, which is good. Here’s what I read in March. You can find a full list of these books and the other books I read this year over here. All will be linked to Goodreads below and I will also link to individual blog posts if I did a review for them.

Physically Read Books:
These are the books that I read by myself (not audiobooks) throughout the month of March.

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The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel – 4 out of 5 stars. – Review.
It was so hard for me to review The Roanoke Girls, because it was a pretty crazy/messed up book. It was good though and it had me hooked from the beginning. It was addicting and I needed to know what the heck was going on! Pretty twisted and disturbing. I would recommend reading it. Feel free to check out my review for more.

Immortal Reign by Morgan Rhodes – 5 out of 5 stars.
The Falling Kingdoms series means absolutely EVERYTHING to me. Morgan Rhodes has shattered my heart and picked up the pieces over and over again with this series. I am so sad that it’s over, but Immortal Reign was everything I hoped it would be and more. This series will forever have my heart.

The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan – 5 out of 5 stars.
The Hammer of Thor was so good! I loved being back in this world and I can’t wait to read the third book. Loved the adventure and of course all the funny jokes and remarks. Rick Riordan is good with that. He is definitely one of my favorite authors. He always writes such fun books.

Love and Other Carnivorous Plants by Florence Gonsalves – 3 out of 5 stars – Review.
I liked Love and Other Carnivorous Plants. I thought it was a good story. It dealt with a lot of pretty important and tough things. Some being eating disorders, mental illness, alcohol abuse, questioning your sexuality. The second half slowed down a bit for me though, so it was hard to really want to be completely invested. I wish the pace didn’t change in the second half of the book, but it was still a good read. I would still recommend reading it. Feel free to check out my review for more.


Currently Reading Books:
These are the books that I started to read in the month of March, but didn’t get a chance to finish them yet.

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Huntress by Julie Hall

I am about 30% into Huntress and I am really enjoying it. It’s giving me Supernatural vibes with it being about hunting demons. I’m all for it.

What did you read in March? Have you read any of the books that in March? Feel free to link me to your wrap up posts, so I can check them out!

In case you missed it;
Thoughts|| Love and Other Carnivorous Plants.
Book Haul|| March.

I hope you have a great day!

ashleyblack

Book Haul|| March.

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Hey!

I have a pretty big book haul this month, but I only bought three of these books (not including the e-books I got). A couple were gifted to me for my birthday that happened earlier this month and publishers & authors sent me others for review. I am going to start with the three that I bought myself. This post may be a little lengthy with all my ramblings about them.

Oh and one last thing, I had every intention of taking pictures of my books this time. Nothing was working out for me though. I couldn’t get the right lighting and my books just did not want to cooperate with me. I called it quits. I did manage to get a picture of the stack though, just not each individual book. I honestly can’t wait to get out of this tiny apartment and into a place with more space, so I can get back into bookstagram the proper way and get back to sharing my pictures on here of my books too. I’m just in this tiny little place and there’s literally no good lighting or good anything for that matter. It’s so frustrating! Now onto the books that I got this month.

Physical Books I Bought:

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Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi
Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi

Children of Blood and Bone is one of my most anticipated books of the year. It’s got SO MUCH HYPE and I really hope I love it, because I usually don’t love hyped books as much as everyone else. I was able to have breakfast with Tomi Adeyemi last year at BookCon (and a few other authors at the Fierce Reads breakfast), which was pretty cool too. I’ve been eyeing Emergency Contact since I first seen it back in November, so I decided to finally just preorder it. I mainly ordered Aru Shah and the End of Time because it was a “Rick Riordan Presents” book and I love anything by Rick Riordan and need to own anything he likes! Even if he was to present me with his grocery list, I would gladly take it off his hands and read it a million times over. 😛 He has a couple others releasing too, which I need to go preorder, LOL. I haven’t read anything by Roshani Chokshi yet, but I do own The Star-Touched Queen, so I probably should read it soon! Aru Shah and the End of Time sounds really good though and like something I will fall in love with. I love books about different mythologies. The other two Rick Riordan Presents are also based off different mythologies as well.


Birthday Books:

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Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh
Olivia Twist by Lorie Langdon

My older sister gifted me Reign of the Fallen for my birthday earlier this month, which I was stoked for! I actually picked it out before my birthday, but she didn’t let me have it until my birthday. We went to Target and she let me pick a book out. Also for my birthday, I got these pretty awesome socks. Funny story, the hubby and my older sister got me the same exact ones. LOL. Totally fine, because I love them so much and now I have two. They say “fuck off, I’m reading”. 😛 My younger sister got me a copy of Olivia Twist for my birthday, which I also picked out. I’ve been so stoked about it, because it’s a retelling of Oliver Twist.

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Books from Publishers & Authors:

I was sent quite a few books from publishers and authors for review this month. Some ARCs and some finished copies. Here’s what I’ve been sent. I have a TON of reading to do. AHHH!

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Love & Other Carnivorous Plants by Florence Gonsalves (ARC)
Hot Mess by Emily Belden
Anatomy of a Miracle by Jonathan Miles

I was sent a copy of Love & Other Carnivorous Plants from The Novl, which I am currently less than 50 pages of being finished with it and will have a review up soon. I read this book called Eightysixed by Emily Belden back in 2014 and the publisher reached out to me and asked if I wanted an ARC of her new book Hot Mess because she seen I read Eightysixed, so of course I said YES! She actually sent a finished copy though, which was cool! I even got it a few days earlier than the release date. I got a copy of Anatomy of a Miracle from Blogging for Books.

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Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray
Defy the Worlds by Claudia Gray (ARC)
The Falling Between Us by Ash Parsons

I got a surprise package from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers that had a paperback copy of Defy the Stars and an ARC for the sequel, Defy the Worlds. I own the e-book of Defy the Stars, but I haven’t had the chance to read it yet. I am excited I have both now and can finally read them. Penguin reached out to me to see if I was interested in reviewing The Falling Between Us and I said yes, because it sounds so good! Super stoked about that one.

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Huntress by Julie Hall
Warfare by Julie Hall
Logan by Julie Hall
Dominion by Julie Hall
*I just linked Huntress, because the other books are in that series; Huntress is the first book.*
Lullaby by L.R. W. Lee

I was asked if I wanted to participate in an Bookstagram tour for the release of Dominion (book three) over on Instagram in April, so I said sure and I’m excited about it; I’ve never done one before. I haven’t had the chance to read the series yet, but I was sent all of the books to read and review. I will be doing a review on Huntress and then later the entire series as a whole once I read them all. I was also sent Lullaby by the author and I can’t wait to read it and review it. It sounds like something I’ll really like. By the way, I am living for all of these book covers!

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I Will Find You by Joe Kenda (Netgalley)

I haven’t been requesting books on Netgalley much these days, but when I seen I Will Find You, I took the chance. I was so stoked that I got approved. My older sister and I love Joe Kenda. We love watching his TV show on the Investigation Discovery channel. It releases in September and I am super stoked to read it! It’s basically about his life and some of the murder cases that he’s solved in his career.

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E-Books:

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Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo
Paper Princess by Erin Watt
Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson
The Year of Less by Cait Flanders

I am not really big into superheroes or the DC/Marvel worlds, but LEIGH BARDUGO. That’s pretty much the only reason I got Warbringer and the $1.99 sale price helped too. I’ve been wanting to read Paper Princess for such a long time, so I finally decided to get it. Truly Devious sounded right up my alley and I was stoked to see it on sale. I’m pretty excited to read The Year of Less: How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away My Belongings, and Discovered Life Is Worth More Than Anything You Can Buy in a Store. This is something I personally need to work on, because I LOVE THINGS TOO MUCH. *cries* It also goes along with what I said in the beginning of this post. No space in this tiny apartment and I own too much stuff. I’ve even had to pack away more than half of my books and get rid of some bookshelves, sigh.

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Anyway, that is all for my March book haul! What books did you get this month? Have you read any of the books that I got? Let me know and feel free to link me to your book haul posts, so I can check them out!

I plan to catch up on your blog posts and comments today and tomorrow. 🙂 I don’t usually get a whole lot of time during the week now that I am doing school and work. I’ll have some time today and tomorrow though. This weekend I have a ton of school stuff to do, like make a million flash cards.

In case you missed it;
Travel|| Butterfly World.
Travel|| Biscayne National Park.

I hope you have a great day!

ashleyblack

Travel|| Butterfly World.

butterflyworldheader

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

Travel|| Biscayne National Park.

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Hey!

Over the weekend I went to go visit my dad with my younger sister and our mom. It was a really great time. While he showed my younger sister around his place, I was off taking pictures with my camera. I’ve been there before, so I seen the majority of it. My dad has the most amazing garden and plants. Here are a few pictures, but let me first tell you that this isn’t even half of his plants/garden. His entire place is surrounded and this is only a small portion. I still haven’t taken pictures of everything yet, but I did get a few of my favorite area.

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FAVORITE AREA BEING THE CACTI AND SUCCULENTS!! HOLY CRAP! I was literally in picture taking HEAVEN. Next time I go see my dad, I’m going to ask him if I can take a few plants home. He always asks us if we want any and I always say no. Next time I’m gonna say yes, lol.

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Found these guys on a couple of my dad’s plants. The caterpillar is going to turn into a monarch butterfly, which is pretty cool. The below picture is just a random picture of these little plants that are hanging from the big trees in his yard. I love the trees and I really love this picture.

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Most of these from my dad’s garden (like the hanging tree and the butterfly and lady bug) haven’t been on Instagram yet. Eventually they’ll make there way there. I hoard pictures to post later. So if you follow me on there, you may see these again! Instagram: heyyitsashley

After he showed my sister around, we were gonna go grab lunch. Before lunch though, we went to Biscayne National Park to walk around. He said he goes there a lot. It was so pretty there and I was super stoked to be able to take pictures. I’ve pretty much taken pictures of almost all the parks in my area, so it was nice going to a new one I haven’t been to. There were a ton of people out fishing and swimming there. There’s two parts to the park, but we only went to the fishing part, which was still so pretty. Here are some pictures I took while there.

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MOM & DAD.

We ate at Buffalo Wild Wings for lunch. I never been there before, but my sister swore they were amazing. I didn’t really get the hype. The food wasn’t that great. At least their chicken tenders weren’t. The beer was good though.

Well, that’s all for this post! I should hopefully be able to catch up with your blogs and comments in the next couple of days. Been a busy weekend and week so far for me with getting some school stuff done on top of work and trying to fit in some non-school related reading as well. I also got addicted to Nailed It (baking competition show) on Netflix and watched the entire season in a day. 😛

I was hoping to finish my current read (Love and Other Carnivorous Plants) by today, so I could get my review up, but I ended up going to the movies last night to see Love, Simon. So that didn’t happen. I hope to at least have it up before the end of the week. By the way, Love, Simon was AMAZING. I laughed and cried throughout the entire movie. The hubby even cried throughout the movie too, lol. SO MANY FEELS!

In case you missed it;
Friday Finds #72.
Random|| Birthday, School, & Other Things.

I hope you have a great day!

ashleyblack

Friday Finds #72.

fridayfinds

FRIDAY FINDS showcases the books you ‘found’ and added to your To Be Read (TBR) list… whether you found them online, or in a bookstore, or in the library — wherever! (they aren’t necessarily books you purchased).


Hey!

I haven’t updated since Monday, so I figured I would do a Friday Finds post since I haven’t done one since December. I’ve been in the worst blogging slump and I haven’t been reading that much over the last couple weeks. I just haven’t been wanting to post or not sure what to post about. I think coming up with content to post is always difficult! Let me know what you guys want to see! I should hopefully have a ton of reviews coming soon with all the ARCs and review books I have lined up though.

Anyway! Here are some of the books that I added to my Goodreads TBR shelf over the last few months. There won’t be book descriptions this time since I am posting ten books, but I will link them all to Goodreads, so you can check them out! You can see more of my TBR over on my Goodreads account over here and feel free to add me as a friend!

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Hot Mess by Emily Belden
Circe by Madeline Miller
The Storm Runner by Jennifer Cervantes
The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw
Beautiful Mess by Claire Christian

I am super stoked for Hot Mess and I’ll talk more about it in my book haul later in the month. Rick Riordan Presents The Storm Runner…Rick Riordan, enough said. I will also be talking more about Rick Riordan Persents in my haul post too. I am living for the book cover of Circe and Beautiful Mess. The Wicked Deep gives me Hocus Pocus vibes and I am all about that.

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Paper Cranes Don’t Fly Away by Peter Vu
Ballad for a Mad Girl by Vikki Wakefield
The Beauty That Remains by Ashley Woodfolk
Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak
Take Three Girls by Cath Crowley

I feel like these five books are going to give me ALL THE FEELS! Also, all of these book covers! HEART EYES FOR DAYS. New Markus Zusak book, YESSSSS!

Have you added any new books to your TBR? Feel free to link me to your posts if you have one or leave a comment letting me know what new books you added to your TBR. 🙂

What are your plans for the weekend? My younger sister is going to be in town this weekend. She’s a truck driver with her boyfriend, so she’s gone all the time driving around the country. So I’ll probably be hanging out with her a lot and the family. I am also hoping to be able to go to the movies to see Love, Simon!! I am DYING to see it, because I loved the book so much when I read it back in 2015.

In case you missed it;
Random|| Birthday, School, & Other Things.

I hope you have a great day and weekend!

ashleyblack

Random|| Birthday, School, & Other Things.

pictureupdate

Hey!

Doing a picture/life update, because I haven’t really been reading that much lately. I don’t know if I am necessarily in a reading slump or not though. I am just preoccupied with other things going on or wanting to do other things instead. With that being said, I am still in the middle of Immortal Reign and The Hammer of Thor. I really want to try to finally finish them this week though.

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BIG THING THOUGH! I signed up for school again! I now have a valid reason for buying ALL THE SCHOOL SUPPLIES. 😛 I already do, but I never use it and feel guilty for spending the money. But now I can finally use the things I bought and buy more. LOL. 😉 I signed up for a Bookkeeping program, which is pretty exciting! I signed up over the weekend. It’s an online school, so I’ll be able to do it from home. I am not sure how much time I’ll have to read now that I am doing online school as well, but I will definitely squeeze in as much as I can. The school is pretty flexible too, so I can work at whatever speed I want. So I can do everything ASAP or I can space it out over 12 months. So that’s a plus! Another cool thing is that my aunt and my older sister are also doing the Bookkeeping program, so we’ll be able to help each other out. My mom is also doing a program too, but hers is something medical related. I think Medical Billing.

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For my birthday (it was on March 3rd), the hubby and I went to LauderAle to get some beers. We’ve never been to this brewery before and it was such a cool place. We ended up both getting a flight of beer. The ones that I got were Gulfstream Cream, Gozezilla, We Dem Boysenberry, and Black Widow Cider. The hubby got a couple of the ones that I got and a banana pepper one. Mine were so good! The place was really cool and chill. They even had a dog roaming around, which was cool. He would bring you his ball to throw to him. Every day they have a different food truck that you can get food from. They also had this really cool octopus painted on the building and a shark. If you didn’t know, I LOVE sharks. Below is the flight of beers I got and the octopus mural.

Cadbury Mini Eggs and champagne for my birthday. 😀 The hubby got me so many mini bags of mini eggs. HEAVEN! 😛 He also got me some cute socks too. I’ll share them in my haul post later this month. I don’t have a picture of them right now. My mom and sister literally got me a 1.5 pound bag of mini eggs too. HOLY CRAP! Honestly, the best birthday present though. I love those things!

I got a lot of shoes for my birthday this year, LOL! I’ve been obsessed with shoes lately, so it’s what I wanted. HAHA. My mom got me the yellow TOMS (top left), the hubby’s parents got me the pink bow TOMS (top right) and my friend Lauren got me the black skull/cacti VANS. I am freaking obsessed with them all. I’ve never had slip on VANS before and I’ve always wanted some. Now I am obsessed and need more. HAHA.

I’ve been wanting to try out different clothes than I typically get (I love t-shirts & jeans), so my older sister got me these two shirts for my birthday as well. They’re really cute and I am pretty obsessed. The first shirt in the first two pictures is something I wouldn’t typically buy. The second one is one I would typically buy, but I don’t have enough. I like cute designs like that. I also decided to buy a few dresses this weekend. I NEVER wear dresses unless it’s like a cover up for my bathing suit when I go to the beach.

Here are the dresses I got this weekend. Sorry about the lighting. I used just the light coming from my window and I didn’t brighten the pictures up on my phone. My mom and I went to Ross and I picked out a few to buy.

The first was this sunflower one (it’s navy blue) and it came with this gold necklace too. I don’t know if I like the necklace though, haha.

I seen this pink one and had to have it, because it has cats all over it! Plus pink is my favorite color. 😛 BUT THE CATS!!! It’s really cute.

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Last one I got was this pink one. I really liked the design on the top and it’s loose fitting, which I love. It’s gonna start getting really hot here (t’s forever hot here, but it’s gonna get worse), so it’ll be nice to have some dresses. Like I said, I never wear dresses, so it’ll be interesting trying these out. If I like wearing them, then I’ll buy more.

Here are a few books that I got this month so far! I had to buy Children of Blood and Bone. Super stoked to read it! Little, Brown Books for Young Readers sent me Defy the Stars and Defy the Worlds. I had no idea these were even coming, so that was exciting. I’ll talk more about these books in my haul post at the end of the month. And some other random bookish pictures.

We got a new sofa!! We haven’t had one for a couple months, so it’s nice that we finally have one now! It also reclines! SO COMFY. As you can see, Dax is LIVING for the new sofa. 😛 Leaf LOVES it. She likes to parkour on it and climb in the back. It’s closed with velcro, but she gets it opened and climbs inside. She’s weird. Ocotber and ColbyJack love it too.

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Here’s a random picture of my three kitties. ColbyJack, October, and Leaf. Love these guys so much.

My mom planted these really cool orange and yellow flowers. They’re pretty cool and pretty.

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A random sunset picture I took in the parking lot of the grocery store. Featuring the hubby pushing the cart. I am obsessed with this picture.

That’s all for this post. Feel free to follow me on Instagram to see more. 🙂  A few of these I haven’t had the chance to post on Instagram yet, so you got to see them first.

Instagram: heyyitsashley
Bookstagram: foreverbookish_

In case you missed it;
Thoughts|| The Roanoke Girls.
Random|| Photo Update.

I hope you have a great day!

ashleyblack

Photo A Day|| February Part Three.

photoaday1

Hi!

I’ll have my February wrap up of all the books that I read this month posted tomorrow. I wanted to get my photo a day post up before the first day of March. I also need to do another random picture update for the rest of February, so that’ll be coming up probably sometime next week. Anyway, onto the last of the February photo a day challenge pictures!


I’ve been taking part in monthly photo a day challenges on my Instagram account (heyyitsashley) and I’ve been having a lot of fun with them (when I don’t fall behind on pictures). I figured I would also cross post them to my blog as well. I think for the purpose of blogging, I will post 3-5 per blog post that I do throughout the month. That way I am not spamming my blog with a million photo a day posts back to back. You can follow me on Instagram (linked above) if you want to see them daily though! Some of these pictures will be taken with my Nikon. There will also be some taken with my iPhone.

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Instagram Caption: 🐝🌼 || photo a day • little.
Camera:
Nikon.

I actually posted two pictures ( the one above and one below) for this day, because I couldn’t decide which picture I liked better. You guys, I am absolutely terrified of bees (mostly getting stung by a bee). I love taking pictures of them though, weird…I know. HAHA. Same with all bugs, really.

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Instagram Caption: ♡♡♡♡ || photo a day • depth of field.
Camera:
iPhone.

I wasn’t entirely sure what “depth of field” was, but from the looks of other people’s pictures it was when there was a subject and everything else was blurry around it. So I just went with it and posted this picture I took of this little pink flower.



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Instagram Caption: 🖤🖤 || photo a day • my face.
Camera:
iPhone.

Hey, it’s Me! 😛 I am still living for these new glasses. They are now my go-to pair of glasses that I am constantly wearing. I neglect my other three pairs.


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Instagram Caption: i need to work today, but i want to read instead. 😭📖 || photo a day • need/want.
Camera:
iPhone.

I did wear these glasses this day though, lol. 😛 These are my other favorite pair that I own. I usually switch between these two more than the others. Anyway! YOU GUYS!!! Immortal Reign is SO FREAKING GOOD! I’ve been reading it very slowly, because I don’t want it to end. Last Friday I accidentally left IR at work and I wanted to cry. I had planned to read a bunch over the weekend and I forgot my book and it was pretty devastating considering I had to go the ENTIRE weekend without it. I decided to not bring it to work with me this week, just in case I forgot it again. haha.

In case you missed it;
Book Haul|| February.
Tag|| The Book Blogger Insider.
Photo A Day|| February Part Two.

I hope you have a great day!

ashleyblack

Photo A Day|| February Part Two.

photoaday1

Hi!

I am kind of in a reading slump right now, which totally sucks. I haven’t been in the mood to read anything for the past week or so. I’ve been watching a lot of TV, which is fine. I mentioned how I was so far behind on TV shows as I am books. Hopefully I get out of this slump ASAP, because I have a lot of books I want to read. Like a ton of ARCs that I need to get reviews up for. Since I don’t really have anything to talk about as far as books goes, here is another photo a day post with pictures from the last few days.


I’ve been taking part in monthly photo a day challenges on my Instagram account (heyyitsashley) and I’ve been having a lot of fun with them (when I don’t fall behind on pictures). I figured I would also cross post them to my blog as well. I think for the purpose of blogging, I will post 3-5 per blog post that I do throughout the month. That way I am not spamming my blog with a million photo a day posts back to back. You can follow me on Instagram (linked above) if you want to see them daily though! Some of these pictures will be taken with my Nikon. There will also be some taken  with my iPhone.

It’ll be a little different this month and I won’t count the actual days of the month, because I missed a lot of days this month. I totally forgot the challenge even started toward the beginning of the month.

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Instagram Caption: “sometimes the place you are used to is not the place you belong.” 🖤 || photo a day • black & white. 
Camera:
Nikon.

I LOVE this picture. I love taking pictures of fences. I took a few different ones that day, but I really liked how this one came out. I also really love the quote I decided to put as the caption.


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Instagram Caption: throwback to flying over arizona back in 2016 when we were on our way to california. i need another vacation, asap! ✈️ || photo a day • travel.
Camera:
iPhone.

Throwback picture to mine and the hubby’s vacation to California in 2016. This is one of my favorite pictures that I took. I want to go on another vacation, on another plane, so I can take more pictures from the sky! I also really want to go back to San Francisco, because I didn’t get to do all the things that I really wanted to do.


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Instagram Caption: hollywood beach 🌊 | photo a day • in the details.
Camera:
 iPhone.

One the side of the outside wall of a restaurant on the beach, there is this really cool mosaic picture. I always like taking pictures of it and it’s so detailed and it went perfectly for the topic this day.


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Instagram Caption: 🌊🌴☀️✌🏼 || photo a day • stripes.
Camera:
iPhone.

This picture was also taken at the beach in the parking garage. I thought it looked cool being able to see the beach from the little window and it ended up going perfect for “stripes”. I have another picture from the parking garage too that isn’t through the slatted window. I’ll have to post that in a picture update post at some point.


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Instagram Caption: “my only goal in life right now is to be genuinely happy.” ♡ || photo a day • time.
Camera:
iPhone.

This one is just a totally random picture. It probably doesn’t really go with “time”, but I used a quote that could go with it as the caption. I am LIVING for the quote I put as the caption. I took it this morning right before it was TIME to go to work though, LOL. So I decided to just post it anyway. I also really love it even though it is completely random and I was just messing around waiting for my sister to finish getting ready.

In case you missed it;
Photo A Day|| February Part One.
WWW Wednesday #46.
3 & 3.5 star reads of 2017.

I hope you have a great day!

ashleyblack

New Year, New Blog.

blogchanges

Happy New Year!

** You may have seen this exact same blog post below back in November, but I am posting it again just in case you missed it and because it’s the new year and I planned to make some new changes to my blog, which I have been trying to incorporate more toward the end of 2017. I will also have another post coming soon of some goals that I hope to accomplish in the new year as far as blogging, reading, and regular life goes. I am going to also post my Goodreads 2017 challenge stats, fave books I read in 2017, and my challenge for 2018. So, be on the look out for those posts coming this week. **

I’ve been thinking a lot about blogging, the blogosphere, and especially my blog and I decided to make some changes and I really hope you stick around for them! Continue reading this post to learn more about it.

I had originally created a blog called “still pixels” for my photography (side note; I am not a pro-photographer or anything like that. I just like taking pictures and sometimes they come out pretty awesome.) and I have an Instagram account to go along with it as well. I like everything I did over there for the two weeks I was doing it, but I think juggling two blogs is difficult; especially when I neglect this one A LOT over the last year. With a new year here, I want to make some changes to the content on this blog.

With that being said, I am going to slowly make this blog be about all the things I like and not only books. It’ll also be where I talk about random things happening in my life. A little journal (ish) in a way. Also, kind of like how I was doing with my random picture posts that I’ve done over the last couple years, but there will be more of it; not just once in awhile.

I migrated some of the things that I posted on Still Pixels over to this blog as well, because I liked the content that I made and posted there; like the headers that I made from the pictures that I took. I’m not going to delete Still Pixels, because in the future I may want to try again with that blog. I’ll be leaving it active, but not updating it (for now). I’m leaving my Instagram account for Still Pixels (stillpixels_) active too, but not updating that right now either. I put that account to private for now.

I will still be updating about books here, but books may not necessarily be my main focus. I don’t plan to rename this blog or anything, because “Socially Awkward Bookworm” still portrays who I am as a person. I am still (and forever) socially awkward and I am still (and forever) a bookworm. There’s more to me than just books though, so I want to talk about and share those things too. I love blogging, but sometimes not always about books and I have no idea where else to put the things in my head.

I think that’s another reason why I’ve been pretty MIA in the blogosphere over the last year and a half. I don’t always want to blog about books, but this blog has always been centered around books and I felt like maybe it would have been wrong in some way to post other things besides book related things and the casual picture update. So I’ve slowly stepped away, I guess you can say. I don’t want to do that though, because I love having a place to put my thoughts and my pictures (other than Instagram).

BUT! With a new year (HELLO, 2018!) here I decided I am going to embrace it and post whatever I want to post about; whether that be books, music, tv shows, fandoms, traveling, photography, or anything else happening in my life. This will be a space for all of that and more. In life if things aren’t working out for you anymore, you change it, or leave it behind. I don’t want to do anything in life that isn’t going to make me happy.

“I’m so focused on my own energy right now and people misinterpret that. I’m not being distant. I’m just gravitating to the vibes that suit me.”

I want to live a life where I am happy with all of my choices and what I am doing and I want my blog to reflect that too. I want to live my life as stress free as humanly possible and if that means having to let some things or people go, then so be it. Life is too short to be anything other than happy and who you want to be. Life is too short to not have the things you want and do the things that you want to do. I’m all about good vibes and that’s the way I want to live my life always.

“I’m learning to be more calm and patient these days. Just can’t afford to let anything or anyone steal my happiness.”

“The more in harmony you are with the flow of your own existence, the more magical life becomes.”

There will still be TONS of talk about books too; no one will ever be able to take away my love for books and the need to talk about them. You’ll just get to see more into my life as well and that could be pretty fun. 🙂

ashleyyellow

Blog Changes.

blogchanges

Hey!

I’ve been thinking a lot about blogging, the blogosphere, and especially my blog and I decided to make some changes and I really hope you stick around for them! Continue reading this post to learn more about it.

I had originally created a blog called “still pixels” for my photography and I have an Instagram account to go along with it as well. I like everything I did over there for the two weeks I was doing it, but I think juggling two blogs is difficult; especially when I neglect this one A LOT over the last year. With a new year coming I want to make some changes to the content on this blog.

With that being said, I am going to slowly make this blog be about all the things I like and not only books. It’ll also be where I talk about random things happening in my life. A little journal (ish) in a way. Also, kind of like how I was doing with my random picture posts that I’ve done over the last couple years, but there will be more of it; not just once in awhile.

I’m going to migrate some of the things that I posted on Still Pixels over to this blog as well, because I liked the content that I made and posted there; like the headers that I made from the pictures that I took. I’m not going to delete Still Pixels, because in the future I may want to try again with that blog. I’ll be leaving it active, but not updating it (for now). I’m leaving my Instagram account for Still Pixels (stillpixels_) active too, but not updating that right now either. I put that account to private for now.

I will still be updating about books here, but books may not necessarily be my main focus. I don’t plan to rename this blog or anything, because “Socially Awkward Bookworm” still portrays who I am as a person. I am still (and forever) socially awkward and I am still (and forever) a bookworm. There’s more to me than just books though, so I want to talk about and share those things too. I love blogging, but sometimes not always about books and I have no idea where else to put the things in my head.

I think that’s another reason why I’ve been pretty MIA in the blogosphere over the last year and a half. I don’t always want to blog about books, but this blog has always been centered around books and I felt like maybe it would have been wrong in some way to post other things besides book related things and the casual picture update. So I’ve slowly stepped away, I guess you can say. I don’t want to do that though, because I love having a place to put my thoughts and my pictures (other than Instagram).

BUT! With a new year approaching rather quickly, I decided I am going to embrace it and post whatever I want to post about; whether that be books, music, tv shows, traveling, photography, or anything else happening in my life. This will be a space for all of that and more. In life if things aren’t working out for you anymore, you change it, or leave it behind. I don’t want to do anything in life that isn’t going to make me happy.

“I’m so focused on my own energy right now and people misinterpret that. I’m not being distant. I’m just gravitating to the vibes that suit me.”

I want to live a life where I am happy with all of my choices and what I am doing and I want my blog to reflect that too. I want to live my life as stress free as humanly possible and if that means having to let some things or people go, then so be it. Life is too short to be anything other than happy and who you want to be. Life is too short to not have the things you want and do the things that you want to do. I’m all about good vibes and that’s the way I want to live my life always.

“I’m learning to be more calm and patient these days. Just can’t afford to let anything or anyone steal my happiness.”

“The more in harmony you are with the flow of your own existence, the more magical life becomes.”

There will still be TONS of talk about books too; no one will ever be able to take away my love for books and the need to talk about them. You’ll just get to see more into my life as well and that could be pretty fun. 🙂

Twitter: whoa_itsashley
Instagram: heyyitsashley
Bookstagram: foreverbookish_

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