Horizon: Zero Dawn

**Please beware, major plot spoilers thrive in this review**

Holy shit.

If you know me, you know I love RPGs. I love being able to explore through a gorgeously created and intricately crafted world as my character, spending more time discovering new areas on the map and pretending the life I’m living through my PS4 is my real one, than I do actually completing the main quest. I love being inundated with dozens of quests and being overwhelmed as a completionist, trying to get through every mission, collect every valuable, destroy every foe and help every soul I can. My top games include the greats like SkyrimWitcher 3, and anything made by BioWare.

And that now, indefinitely, includes Horizon: Zero Dawn.

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I’ve poured almost 75 hours into playing the main story and, upon completing it, immediately logged into the PS Store and bought The Frozen Wilds DLC, which is downloading at home as we speak (and right before the weekend starts, like a BAMF).

There are so many elements that I love about this game.

The mechanics were awesome. I loved, particularly, being able to craft ammo from a quick menu, the stealth mode and using my Focus. I felt like a badass with every headshot that I got and every time I took down a machine (less so when they kicked me ass and I had a few nights of rage quitting, let me tell you). I really enjoyed the wide range of weapons you were able to use, even though this was meant to reflect, in a way, a more primitive society. It was easy to catch on, even though there were a wide range of things you could do as a player.

Of course, the graphics were gorgeous. I couldn’t get over how beautiful the world was and I loved discovering relics of the past (which reflects our current), like seeing a statue covering in vines or the ruined remains of a billboard, but seeing it through the eyes of a people who consider it ancient and unfamiliar. I think this is one of the main reasons I spent so much time playing it. I could spend entire sessions playing where I didn’t complete a single quest, but was just running around and exploring. And I’ll prolly do it here again soon, trying to find all the datapads I didn’t during my first playthrough.

Oh, and that score. Was not surprised to learn it was Julie Elven behind the vocals, who always sings such gorgeous stuff.

The highlight of the game, however?

That storyline.

That plotline.

Those twists.

I mean, friends, c’mon. It was just so brilliant. Just as Aloy wanted so desperately to figure out who her mother was, I wanted to figure out what happened to the world I was familiar with and how it became the world Aloy was in currently. The idea that machines became such a huge role in society and then took over is no new concept, but the fact that they took in biomass as fuel and could self-replicate, with no measure to stop them, so extinction was inevitable? And then, the solution was to create an AI called GAIA to recreate life from the ground up, creating an automated terraforming system? And the team who worked on it knew everyone was going to die and they lied to those fighting the machines so they could recreate life, but never live to see it!? But not only that, but when HADES, GAIA’s death machine if she messes up, allowing her to start over, goes rogue and GAIA destroys herself in attempt to stop him, but then also recreates Dr. Sobeck in the form of Aloy, in hopes that GAIA will be reinstated and HADES stopped?

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I say again.

Holy shit.

It feels like a long time since I played a game that had such a rewarding storyline. Especially when you take into account the way it’s delivered. When you begin to find abandoned datapads and vantage points and you start to learn some of the history behind the extinction of the human race, you can’t help but be ridiculously intrigued. Being teased like that just fueled my desire to learn more.

Then, of course, you add in the cutscene after the end of the credits.

I have two things to say to that:

  1. Fuck you, Zavala–er, I mean Sylens.
  2. Guerrilla, you need to make a sequel. You must.

I’m really excited to play the DLC. I might, even, after taking a break to dive into some of the other games I got for Christmas (I’m looking at you, Shadow of War), play the New Game+ and see if I can beat it on a higher difficulty, because this is a game and a world I want to get lost in much more than just one playthrough.

It’s just too good to do anything else.

Cheers.

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Random Emotional Word Vomit

Hey, friends.

It’s been a hot second since I’ve wrote a post that wasn’t tied into my resolutions on this blog (and I’m sorry about that; hoping to write more soon!). Still recovering from the holiday whirlwind and getting adjusted working evenings again, seems like. Though I know I’ll have a video game review up here in a couple days (because holy shit, Horizon: Zero Dawn, you floored me), I also just wanted to write a post doing a little bit of word vomit, just to get some emotions out of my system (but, let’s be real: most of my blog is like that). I’m not 100% sure where this post is going to go, but…

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You see, I’ve been feeling kinda…blah, lately. Not all the time, but just in little spurts, where my mood will just…plummet. To the point where I’ll actually tear up, if not cry outright. Usually about stupid shit, little things, minor frustrations; things I certainly shouldn’t be crying about or get super upset by. I’m honestly not sure where this is coming from, but obviously, I’d really like to stop feeling this way and enjoy the life I have. Especially because there isn’t really a lot about life right now to complain about.

Job is going well. Getting back into the routine of things, so I’m slowly working on incorporating my goals into my every day life again: writing, reading, working out, blogging, you know, the usual. I still get to see my friends on a regular basis, part of two DnD campaigns, I got to see my family a lot over the holidays (and I plan to make them more of a priority this year) and I have a wonderful boyfriend who makes me feel so, so incredibly lucky. What is there to complain about?

And yet.

I keep getting caught in this funk. With little seeds of unhappiness seeping in and affecting my entire mood, bringing it down. I know it’s something I just need to shake…which is kinda hard to do, when I can’t exactly pinpoint the cause. But it’s something I hope I can shake earlier, rather than later, because I’m really not digging it.

And…yeah. That’s just where I’m at right now. Short and simple, today.

(Okay, maybe not so simple, but you get what I mean.)

Cheers.


Quest for Discovery: Week Three

Hello, fam!

As you can see, I’m posting this update a couple days late (oops), but this is what a three day weekend interrupting your routine does to you (especially when you’re nearing the end playing Horizon: Zero Dawn). Better late than never though, right?

Working out was still a struggle, though I did do my indoor routine one day last week and my body was sore for three days after the fact, so obviously I needed it. And considering I did it again this morning is a good beacon for this week’s outcome, hopefully, but I was a bit disappointed at my inability to make it a priority with my holiday schedule (as my two pound weight gain reflects). Since I’m back on my usual routine, now it’s just a matter of keeping up the indoor exercises until the weather is nice enough outside to run again.

Otherwise, I killed it writing wise (had a day of plot breakthroughs that resulted in five hours of outlining I’m going to finish up this week). Reading during my lunch break (which will switch to my dinner break, now) was magical. I’ve had to spend a bit more money this month than I hoped, with getting a new phone, eye appointments and getting ahead with Valentine’s Day shopping for my man, so hopefully next month will be more reflective of my actual spending habits. I forgot to get the devotional from home when I was there last week, so I’ll have to readjust that plan.

Overall, though? Sorta what I expected with the start of the year/ending of the holidays/getting back into the swing of things; some progress and some hiccups, but the same level of determination to keep pushing forward, despite.Image result for elegant page break clip art

Writing
Long-Term Goal: Write two new books and edit two books. Enter the query trenches.

Last Week’s Goal: Research tropes. Map out second narrative arc. Make gameplan in WriteTrack. Prep for starting novel next week.

  • Status: Affirmative, Commander. I didn’t make my gameplan in WriteTrack and I’m not starting it today, like I hoped, but I did have such a breakthrough figuring out the second narrative arc that I can’t help be excited, even if I’m going to start actually writing later than I planned.

Weekly Goal: Finish chapter outline and character profiles. Create map (for fun). Create WriteTrack plan.

Reading
Long-Term Goal: Read every day, finishing up some old series and keeping up with new ones.

Last Week’s Goal: Finish Age of Assassins. Write review (and Necrotech review?). Start new steampunk novel.

  • Status: Affirmative, Commander. I finished Age of Assassins (and that one line in the epilogue is still haunting me), wrote the review and started reading Elizabeth Bear’s Karen Memory, which is such a neat steampunk read. Should finish it in a day or two.

Weekly Goal: Finish Karen Memory. Write review and Necrotech review. Read during my meal breaks.

Fitness
Long-Term Goal: Continue living a healthy lifestyle and shaping a body I love and am proud of.

Last Week’s Goal: Exercise indoors 3x. Log food…accurately.

  • Status: Negative, Commander. Worked out once, but didn’t log my food at all. Still weighed, though, and while I wasn’t stoked about the results, I’m not giving into despair yet. I got plenty of work–and time–to do it.

Weekly Goal: Indoor routine 3x. Log food.

Financial
Long-Term Goal: Learn to have a healthy relationship with money and build my savings.

Weekly Goal: Put money into savings. Don’t spend any extra money that I don’t have to.

  • Status: Negative, Commander. I ended up buying a new phone. I didn’t really need one, but my old one was so shit, I really wanted one. It’s making everything a little tighter and will probably have to use my tax return to pay it off, but it wasn’t exactly the best financial week.

Weekly Goal: Actually put money into savings. Start prepping for taxes.

Spiritual
Long-Term Goal: Reconnect with God and grow personally to live more like Jesus.

Last Week’s Goal: Pick up book from my parents. Come up with reading and check-in gameplan with my Mom to implement next week.

  • Status: Negative, Commander. Completely forgot to pick up book and haven’t talked to my Mom about it, yet.

Weekly Goal: Pray every night without losing focus (too much).

Carpe Diem
Long-Term Goal: Find a reason to smile every day and something to get excited about weekly. 

Last Week’s Goal: Enjoy spending some time with my Dad after my eye doctor appointment. Try not to kill Edward after watching Battlestar Galactica.

  • Status: Affirmative, Commander. Had fun chilling with my Dad and catching up with my siblings last week, especially as we watched some college basketball. Didn’t watch any Battlestar, but have been grinding Horizon: Zero Dawn and considering I’m at 95% completion…

Weekly Goal: Beat Horizon: Zero Dawn and prepare to have my mind blown. Have fun hanging out with Kylee (and hopefully my sister) on Saturday.Image result for elegant page break clip art

This week, definitely going to focus on the final outlining prep for Artemis Smith and the Steam-Powered Fallacy, so hopefully I can start writing the book next week. Working out and eating better will also be on the forefront of my mind. But mostly, I’ll just be getting back into the habit of working evenings instead of days and trying to survive the cold.

Cheers.


Reading Outlook for 2018

I have a lot of books I want to read. Not surprising, right? But sometimes, that fact becomes ridiculously overwhelming, especially when I’m trying to decide what to read next. With the goal of reading at least 40 books this year (but hoping for more), I wanted to make a list of the books that, ideally, I’d love to enjoy throughout the year, including rereading some series to prepare for a new book, finally reading authors I’ve been meaning to for months (and sometimes years) and continuing to read series that I enjoy. Below is a list of the books I hope to read. I’m curious what the total number is going to be…

Series To Complete

The Demon Cycle by Peter V. Brett

  • The Daylight War 
  • The Skull Throne 
  • The Core 

The Shattered Kingdom by Evie Manieri

  • Blood’s Price (reread)
  • Fortune’s Blight
  • Strife’s Bane 

Gentleman Bastard by Scott Lynch

  • The Republic of Thieves
  • The Thorn of Emberlain

Re-Reads

The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica by James A. Owen

  • Here, There Be Dragons
  • The Search for the Red Dragon
  • The Indigo King 
  • The Shadow Dragons
  • The Dragon’s Apprentice
  • The Dragon’s of Winter (never read)
  • The First Dragon (never read)

The Kingkiller Chroncile by Patrick Rothfuss

  • The Name of the Wind (10th anniversary edition)
  • The Wise Man’s Fear 

The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson

  • The Way of Kings
  • Words of Radiance
  • Oathbringer (never read)

Twelve Houses by Sharon Shinn

  • Mystic and Rider
  • The Thirteenth House
  • Dark Moon Defender 
  • Reader and Raelynx
  • Fortune and Fate

New Series

The Fitz and The Fool trilogy by Robin Hobb

  • Fool’s Assassin
  • Fool’s Quest
  • Assassin’s Fate

Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb

  • Assassin’s Apprentice 
  • Royal Assassin
  • Assassin’s Quest 

Solider Son by Robin Hobb

  • Shaman’s Crossing
  • Forest Mage 
  • Renegade’s Magic 

On the Bones of Gods by K. Eason

  • Enemy
  • Outlaw

Birch Hall Romance by Kathleen Kimmel

  • A Lady’s Guide to Ruin
  • A Gentleman’s Guide to Scandal

More Books

  • Autonomous by Annalee Newitz
  • Age of Myth by Michael J. Sullivan
  • The Kraken King by Meljean Brooks
  • The Strange Affair of Spring-Heeled Jack by Mark Hodder
  • Storm and Steel by Jon Sprunk
  • Shadow’s Son by Jon Sprunk
  • A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan
  • Do You Want to Start a Scandal by Tessa Dare
  • The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare
  • Nevermore by Rob Thurman
  • Heart of Iron by Ashley Poston
  • Blood of Assassins by RJ Barker
  • The Deviant Heir by Melissa Caruso
  • A Plague of Giants by Kevin Hearne
  • Outriders by Jay Posey
  • Blood Requiem by Christopher Husberg

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As you can see, my heart will now and always belong to fantasy, yet I threw in some romance, sci-fi and steampunk for good measure. And that list doesn’t even include rereading series like The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher or The Camulod Chronciles by Jack Whyte. Or rereading every book that Tamora Pierce has ever written, because that’s way overdue. Or the slew of books that I’m waiting to get published this year, by authors like Brent Weeks, Joe Zieja, Curtis C. Chen and company (which I know I’ll read, even if they aren’t on this list at the moment). And the plethora of novels and authors I know I’m forgetting, but deserve to be on this list.

Yet, just listing out some of the books I already own and picking out some of the most recently added from Goodreads, with the list of books I hope to read this year (and a goal of 40 books), if I read them all, I’d be reading a total of…

54 books.

Yeah…

Time to get reading, shall we?

Cheers.


Quest for Discovery: Week Two

Hello, fam!

Week One of my Quest for Discovery was about what you’d expect the first week of resolution hunting to go: I panicked under the pressure of wanting to achieve all of these goals at once, feeling extra pressure “starting with a fresh plate,” so the goals I wanted to mainly focus on this year–writing and fitness–weren’t accomplished. It’s was a mental game that I failed, because I got so caught up in that idea of, “It’s the New Year, you have a new chance to chase after everything you want to change about yourself and if you mess up, you’ll fail utterly,” that I didn’t complete what I wanted to; even though I’ve been working on many of these goals since last year, and a hiccup here and there doesn’t derail me at all. Not to mention I didn’t factor in going back to work after two weeks off and how busy I was trying to catch up with that.

So. I had some success, I had some hiccups. But, unlike what I used to do–feel like a failure and get disappointed and then give up–I’m going to make new goals and continue pushing forward.

Because these dreams are too important to me to give up on.

 

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Writing
Long-Term Goal: Write two new books and edit two books. Enter the query trenches.

Last Week’s Goal: Map out an online of the second narrative arc (namely, pick tropes I want to twist). Pick out some steampunk reads.

  • Status: Negative, Commander. I had this on my To-Do list all week, yet I had a lot of other things on there, too. Every day, it felt like I just ran out of time. Yet I’m not panicking, as I still have plenty of time to get research and plotting done this week and still be able to start writing by the 15th.

Weekly Goal: Research tropes. Map out second narrative arc. Make gameplan in WriteTrack. Prep for starting novel next week.

Reading
Long-Term Goal: Read every day, finishing up some old series and keeping up with new ones.

Last Week’s Goal: Finishing Age of Assassins. Read during my lunch breaks. Write review.

  • Status: Affirmative, Commander. I’m going to count this one as a success, even though I didn’t finish the book or write the review. Why, you ask? Because I have less than 90 pages left and my real, true goal was to read every day during my lunch break, which I did. It felt fantastic.

Weekly Goal: Finish Age of Assassins. Write review (and Necrotech review?). Start new steampunk novel.

Fitness
Long-Term Goal: Continue living a healthy lifestyle and shaping a body I love and am proud of.

Last Week’s Goal: Do body exercises 3x. Log food.

  • Status: Negative, Commander. I didn’t do any of the indoor exercises I wanted to do, though I finally did get some sheets printed and sorted so I can do some this week. I logged my food for half of the week, but somehow continued to forget to log the sweets. Yet, after my period this week, I weighed again and am happy that two pounds of what I had gained was period weight, so over the holidays, I actually only gained two pounds total, instead of almost five. I count that as a win in and of itself.

Weekly Goal: Exercise indoors 3x. Log food…accurately.

Financial
Long-Term Goal: Learn to have a healthy relationship with money and build my savings.

Weekly Goal: Reevaluate budget and get it to a manageable state.

  • Status: Affirmative, Commander. I went back through my budget and adjusted my spending amount, increasing it slightly to match the average of what I usually spent in a month last year, as well as added in putting in $100 into savings every month. Now, to see it go into action.

Weekly Goal: Put money into savings. Don’t spend any extra money that I don’t have to.

Spiritual
Long-Term Goal: Reconnect with God and grow personally to live more like Jesus.

Last Week’s Goal: Look up some different devotionals and find one I like. Discuss with Mom and make a game plan of when to touch base (because she’s doing with this me *fistpump*).

  • Status: Affirmative, Commander. My Mom and I found one that we both like and are excited to try. It should be in the mail early next week.

Weekly Goal: Pick up book from my parents. Come up with reading and check-in gameplan with my Mom to implement next week.

Carpe Diem
Long-Term Goal: Find a reason to smile every day and something to get excited about weekly. 

Last Week’s Goal: Get to Meridian in Horizon Zero Dawn. Have a blast catching up with old friends and at the fantasy football party.

  • Status: Affirmative, Commander. After reaching Level 35, I finally decided to start doing the main quest and go to Meridian. And wow, is that city gorgeous. Also went home yesterday for the fantasy football party to see the fam with the boyfriend and that was really nice, too. Not to mention getting dinner with two old high school friends, which was the highlight of last week.

Weekly Goal: Enjoy spending some time with my Dad after my eye doctor appointment. Try not to kill Edward after watching Battlestar Galactica.

Image result for elegant page break clip artIt’s funny, after reading through my goals last week and writing out this week’s, how I consider last week a “failure” overall, since I didn’t succeed in writing or working out. Yet I did a pretty good job on all the other ones, considering. Just another example of how harsh we can be on ourselves and how forgiveness–and understanding and a reality check, to be honest–is not a bad thing to heed at all.

Now? Time to crush Week Two.

Cheers.


The Most Magical Adventure

When you have the opportunity to go on a trip to Disney World the week before Christmas and you find out three days before the flight leaves and have an hour to make your decision, you may panic a bit.

But you’d better say yes, because otherwise, you’re missing out on the most magical of adventures.

I never in my life thought I’d actually get to go to Disney World, let alone have such an incredible opportunity to go during such a wonderful time of the year. But that exact scenario happened to me this past holiday season, when my boyfriend’s family, who were heading out on a family vacation, suddenly had an open spot they needed filled.

I was floored–and honored and humbled and elated–that they wanted me to join them.

I could write a novel about all the adventures that took place (and looking at the length of this post, I nearly have), but I’ll just try (read, fail) and stick with some of the highlights.

I Have A Bug Bite?

One of the most surreal things was stepping off that airplane and immediately taking off my jacket, wearing a tank top and yet still be sweating, in December. I know I was at the most magical place on Earth, so this is a silly thing to highlight, but this little fact floored me the entire week; how back home, it was below freezing, yet I was out and about, wearing tank tops, sweating, wishing I’d brought some capris instead of only jeans, during Christmas time. It was almost foreign, seeing these gigantic Christmas trees everywhere and all these lovely decorations, yet still being able to feel my fingers.

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Oh, and I did come home with three total bug bites.

In December.

What.

Extra, Extra, Read All About It!

So, I’d been to Epcot once before, during a work trip, but I counted this trip as my first time at Disney. Edward loved pointing out how “extra” the staff was, from silly puns to describing buying an animatronic dragon as having an “adoption fee,” rather than a price tag. Not in a bad way, by any means, but he loved to point out how much everyone tried.

Yet I don’t think anyone was as extra as me.

I was your ultra tourist. I can’t tell you how many times I rushed to go and take a picture (or how I made us stop at every photo person to take another cheesy photo) or jumped up and down in excitement or my grin was a little too wide. I was ridiculous when we first saw the castle, lit up with Christmas lights during the night sky. Or how I was constantly squeeing the entire time we were in Animal Kingdom, my favorite place. I was always buzzing, asking Edward questions or asking if we could do X thing or stopping to look at Y shop. I was awed the entire time and it was just so incredible.

I’m not even ashamed.

I Would Walk 500 Miles…

We definitely got the full Disney experience, too. From the 90 minute wait times for rides to the 22 hour day we pulled on day one, walking 25,000 steps and a little over 11 miles (and averaging 9 miles throughout the trip); to hitting up every park and staying out from open to close almost every day. If we didn’t get thighs of steel from that trip, then I dunno what to tell you. Yet for every blister, every moment when we felt like we were going to collapse from exhaustion, every time we’d tell ourselves, “We’ll take it easier tomorrow,” only to add another mile; it was all worth it, because we couldn’t stop laughing, smiling and enjoying everything Disney had to offer.

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But we didn’t just walk.

One day, we were waiting for a bus to get to Epcot, but it was going to be a hot second. And buses to the Magical Kingdom were showing up left and right. So we thought we’d hop on a bus, go to the Magic Kingdom, and then jump on the monorail to get to Epcot. We ended up, somehow, also including a ferry ride (since we showed up on the wrong side of Magic Kingdom for the Epcot monorail), so we literally hit up every form of transportation possible, just trying to reach Epcot. Waiting for the bus definitely would have been quicker, but it wouldn’t nearly have been as much fun.

So-fari, So Good

Like I said, my favorite place was Animal Kingdom. We actually did get to go on a safari, which was probably really annoying for Edward, as I clung to his arm and pointed out every animal we saw right after our tour guide did, as giddy as a child (as if he couldn’t see them himself). Seeing the Tree of Life was incredible. Walking through Pandora was really amazing, too. Even though we didn’t get to ride one of the rides there, we did get to do the Naav’i river ride (twice) which was way too freakin’ cool. And we saw the two little tiger cubs and I may have made us watch them play with their mom a little longer than anyone really should have. I also had a weird fascination with all the ducks around (and saw ducklings!!), because I’m that much of an animal nut.

Animal Kingdom

What’s a Fast Pass?

When I think of Disney, I think of the iconic landmarks, like the castle. I don’t think about the fact that it has a ton of rides. And roller coasters. Which I, uh, don’t do, because they freak me the frack out (which Edward learned really fast when I actually started crying slightly at Hollywood Studios because I was so terrified to go on Rocking Roller Coaster, where you went upside down, three times; he didn’t make me get on it, the gem). Yet I did try a couple, because Edward has a great knack (and I’m being 100% serious here) of knowing exactly when and how much to push me out of my comfort zone.

So we rode Everest (I only squeezed my eyes shut once!), which I enjoyed, but was definitely shaky, afterwards. We did the Naav’i river ride, the water ride (which was way too much freakin’ fun); Soaring, Test Track (and my car didn’t fail as horribly as I thought it would) and Mission Space, all twice and all incredible. We went through the globe at Epcot, the Dinosaur experience, Pirates of the Caribbean and even did a few rides at Universal, too! Though I was nervous, it was really fun and I’m glad I pushed my boundaries a little bit.

You’re a Blizzard, Harry

HP

We did get to do two days at Universal, which basically, for us, equated to an afternoon at Jurassic Park and then the rest of the time spent drinking Butterbeer and wishing we were wizards (at least, I was). I don’t think I can accurately describe how incredible the Wizarding World of Harry Potter was. When we stepped around the corner and into Diagon Alley, I was literally so excited, I may have punched Edward, accidentally, in a not so pleasant area, to which we then had to pause for five minutes so he could recover.

Oops.

But, it was so incredible, the attention to detail, the soundtrack playing everywhere, eating at the Leaky Cauldron, all the people wearing their house robes. It made me wish the wizarding world was all the more real, more than I’d ever had before.

It’s Not the Trip, It’s the Company

As you can see, the trip itself was pretty amazing–and that’s just a mere glimpse, not including so many other highlights, like literally taking all modes of transportation to the Magic Kingdom just to get a footlong chili cheese dog, wishing we got a free puppy when we stayed a 101 Dalmatians-themed hotel room, the fireworks show, eating at a space-themed restaurant and getting prime seating, or doing a focus group while we waited our ride time. There are just so many amazing aspects of this trip that I can’t even describe them all.

But the best part?

The people.

Dating an extrovert led me to meeting a lot of really amazing people that my shy self normally wouldn’t have talked to: a dad and his daughter, who was scared to ride Mission Space with us, yet halfway through the ride, screamed “THIS IS AMAZING,” which had us all cracking up. A boy who rode with us on Test Track, doing drive number eight in a row. Parents and their son who talked with us while we waited the first time for Test Track, gushing about how much they love Disney and reminiscing about what the park used to be, way back when. A single dad and his daughter who’d just arrived the day before, yet were already killing it at the parks, same as we did, never taking a moment to rest, because there’s just too much to do. It was so neat, to meet so many different people, even for a short while.

Then, there were the family dinners we had (almost) every night, which I enjoyed tremendously. It was great to get to know his family better, hear about their own experiences from what they did that day and just trade stories while getting really freakin’ fat on good food (gosh, don’t even get me started on some of the food we had while we were there….).MK_MSCINEMA_20171219_407270787580

But, the best company was the man who traveled right alongside me.

That was absolutely my favorite part, hands down. We could have sat in the hotel room and just binged watched the Weather Channel while eating mozzarella sticks and french fries (which may or may not have happened one evening) and I still would’ve had such a wonderful time, because I was with a person who understands me so well and just makes me so incredibly happy.

Thanks, babe, for putting up with my touristy nature, only making fun of me a little bit when I grinned too hard any time one of the photographers asked us to kiss in a photo, pushing me out of my comfort zone and creating memories with me that will last a lifetime. I couldn’t ask for a better person to go on adventures with.

I’m absolutely ecstatic for all our future adventures to come.

Cheers.


Quest for Discovery: Week One

Hello, fam!

It’s really weird, getting into the groove of being productive again. The holidays always have a way of upending any routine I once had and disrupting the flow, so it always feels a little weird–not to mention intimidating–to get back into the swing of things once again. All morning, I’ve been bouncing back and forth between 20 different things and while it feels good to start working towards my goals again, at the same time, I’m also trying to not get stressed out and overwhelmed.

You know, like how this post was meant to go up on Sunday and it’s, ah, Tuesday.

*shrugs*

But, I’m excited. I’m invigorated from the rest and relaxation. I have a lot of goals I want to accomplish this year and I’m ready to get started.

So, let’s, shall we?

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Writing
Long-Term Goal: Write two new books and edit two books. Enter the query trenches.

Weekly Goal: Map out an online of the second narrative arc (namely, pick tropes I want to twist). Pick out some steampunk reads.

Reading
Long-Term Goal: Read every day, finishing up some old series and keeping up with new ones.

Weekly Goal: Finishing Age of Assassins. Read during my lunch breaks. Write review.

Fitness
Long-Term Goal: Continue living a healthy lifestyle and shaping a body I love and am proud of.

Weekly Goal: Do body exercises 3x. Log food.

Financial
Long-Term Goal: Learn to have a healthy relationship with money and build my savings.

Weekly Goal: Reevaluate budget and get it to a manageable state.

Spiritual
Long-Term Goal: Reconnect with God and grow personally to live more like Jesus.

Weekly Goal: Look up some different devotionals and find one I like. Discuss with Mom and make a game plan of when to touch base (because she’s doing with this me *fistpump*).

Carpe Diem
Long-Term Goal: Find a reason to smile every day and something to get excited about weekly. 

Weekly Goal: Get to Meridian in Horizon Zero Dawn. Have a blast catching up with old friends and at the fantasy football party.

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Want a boost of happiness or inspiration? Here are 26 inspirational quotes to change your life. Happiness quotes. Self-love quotes. Best quotes.

Looks a little sparse, this week, considering we’re just getting started and there are no goals to report progress on from the week before, but I feel like these are some manageable goals to start out with. I’m trying out a new layout, too, of how to write out these goals…still trying to figure out how exactly I want to do that, so we’ll see if it sticks or if I change it up.

For now, here’s to 2018 and trying to discover–by creating–a better version of myself, one day at a time.

Cheers.