Friday, April 13, 2018

Now I'm 25 ...

I'm officially a quarter of a century old! This is weird ... My birthday was last week and because most of my friends live out of state or country, I like inviting them up for the weekend. Since my birthday was on a Friday this year, my friends Casey and Amy could actually come on my birthday and we had a great time and I also want to reflect on my 24th year as well. :)

Birthday Happenings:

Day 1:

On the first day, I picked up my friends from the airport and we headed to Hmart for lunch then we did some shopping since they like to stock up on their Asian foods when they come up. XD

Next, we headed to the Ultimate Escape Game which is an escape room. I've done an escape room before in Philly a few years back, but I've never done a local one so I was so excited! We ended up not winning, but we got so close and it was on one of the hardest rooms and was World War II-themed (There was a Captain America poster. Squee.). And we definitely want to go to this escape room again!

For dinner, we ate at our favorite Korean BBQ place. We got our usuals because they're awesome.

Then lastly I took them to Sweet Hut for the first time! They loved it! And we finished the day by playing some of Conquest of the Longbow.

Day 2:

On this day we went to Tea Leaves and Thyme! This was their first time and we really enjoyed sipping unlimited tea, putting on hats, and eating delicious finger foods. The tea house even brought out a candle and brownie for me. ^ ^

Next, we went to the Perimeter Mall and we went to this amazing candy shop with a giant gummy bear and I got discount Treebeard and Aragorn Funko pops!

Then we headed to downtown Atlanta to Java Cats! This is a cat cafe where you sip tea and pet kitties. You can even adopt them since they're shelter cats. We had a lot of fun spending time with these lovable furries. 

Afterward, we had an unexpected detour to Oakland Cemetary, which was right across the street from Java Cats, so why not check out old graves and crypts from the 1800s?

We ate dinner at my favorite French cafe then we went home to see my Lady Bishamonten cosplay had arrived! This was a total surprise since I didn't think it would come for a few weeks. It fits pretty well. There are only a few parts I'd need to take in. ^ ^

Day 3:

Today was birthday! We spent most of it at the Atlanta Zoo where we got to see many animals including Tanukis, Victoria Crown Pigeons (hee hee), giant anoles, fossas, kookaburras, and even a bald eagle! 

And we ate Dippin' Dots cause why not?

In the evening, we had dinner at Thai Emerald, which is a fancy Thai restaurant. I had mango shrimp, Thai iced tea, and we all had flaming fried ice cream. Yes, it's as amazing as it sounds.

Afterward, we went home and ate mango mousse cake from Sweet Hut and yes those letters are dark chocolate on white chocolate!

Casey and Amy were so sweet and gave me a loot chest of goodies (Casey played the Legend of Zelda chest opening ditty while I opened it and I was dying laughing. I love having nerd friends. XD), which included figures, stickies, and A FREAKING KING'S QUEST SHIRT OMG I FLIPPED OUT.

We finished the day watching some anime. It was a great birthday and I already miss Casey and Amy. I'm so looking forward to seeing them next month at MegaCon!

Milestones I Hit During My 24th Year: 

1.) My blog has grown! -

Top Post Viewed: How Can Characters be Powerful If They're Not Real? post has gotten crazy popular at 56,000 direct views and growing.

Comments: Last year I reach over 2,000! Now I have over 3,000!
Followers on the Blog: Across Google Friend Connect, Blog Lovin', and by email, I have approximately 300 followers! 
Followers on Social Media: 371 likes on Facebook, 405 followers on Twitter, 731 followers on Pinterest, and 190 followers on Instagram!

The So Your Character is From Another Country ... project has hit 63 posted interviews over 56 countries!

2.) I got to see the Pacific Ocean - I was in San Francisco for a few hours for a layover and during the flight on the way in I got to see the Pacific Ocean. I didn't get to touch it, but it was really cool see in the west side of the North American continent for the first time.

3.) I experienced a desert - I've wanted to experience all different biomes and I got to finally experience a desert when I stayed in Reno, Nevada for Realm Makers. It's definitely hot and dry. When I swam in the pool and then set on the edge for a while, the wind dried me in minutes. It was also so dry that I actually had a nosebleed.  XD But all in the name of book experiences right?

4.) I cosplayed as Fem King Graham and Ymir - If you couldn't tell I looooooooove King's Quest. For those who don't know what that is, it's a classic PC game series. King Graham who is the playing character of most of the games and the games circle around his family was really influential on me growing up. He's noble, loyal, brave, clever, and perseverant. So I decided to do a feminine version of him complete with Cedric the Owl from King's Quest V: Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder.

Last year the second season of Attack on Titan came out and I fell in love with Ymir. In the first season I didn't care for her much, but the second season I adored her (Why does this happen a lot with me? This happened with Steve from Stranger Things and Lady Bishamonten from Noragami. XD). I related to her character arc on a really personal level and after seeing her backstory I admire her so much, so I decided I wanted to cosplay her in her cosplay from season 2. 

5.) I got a day job that I don't completely hate - If you've been keeping up with my blog for a few years, you've probably seen that I've been through a few jobs. Most of them I liked for the first couple of months and then I slowly became miserable and depressed. I guess you could say, "Be an adult, Tori, and suck it up. Everybody has crappy bosses and jobs they don't wanna do!" But when you deal with depression and anxiety that flares up with a bad work environment to the point your boss starts noticing and even writes you up for "looking too sad," there's a problem.

German Restaurant in Alabama I went to on a business trip.
Sooooo ... Last year I decided to try a temp agency since I was sick of minimum wage jobs. I tried out a bunch of positions (data entry, worked at Goodwill for a weekend, file clerk) and then finally I got an interview with someone from a sausage company and I'm like ... "Gross. I don't want to do that." But I was hurting for cash and if I wanted to go to Realm Makers I needed to get something more consistent. 

So I tried it out and at first, I really didn't like it, but again the drive was Realm Makers. But in two weeks it'll be a year I've been with this job and I've hardly had a problem with my boss. She actually likes me and appreciates me and I'm good at my job. I didn't think that I'd be good at selling stuff, but I am. 

This is the longest I've kept a "normal job" (I've been with online jobs for years) and I've really enjoyed this experience. I've gotten to travel, I get a lot of perks, and I like the people I work with and they like me and don't try to throw me under the bus. Yeah, some days I really don't feel like getting up in the morning to go to work and sometimes I have problems with customers, but that's just part of working. 

All in all, it's nice to feel happy about my job and feel like I'm making at least semi-decent money and I feel like I'm being appreciated and as someone who's love language is Words of Affirmation, that means a lot.

Indian Restaurant on a business trip in Tennessee.

6.) I won NaNoWriMo for my fourth year in a row - For this NaNo I wrote an adult novel I've had in my head for years in first person, so this was quite a challenge for me. I'm still going over the edits, but I felt like I grew a lot writing in a way I'm not accustomed to and hopefully, I can get this thing edited to readability. XD

7.)  I got to meet two dream celebrities: Nathan Fillion and Matt Smith - These two men have been on my dream celebrity list for yearssssssssssssssss (That list also includes William Moseley, Viggo Mortensen, Jennifer Lawrence, Miranda Otto, Mae Whitman, Sean Asten, and David Tennant) and when I saw they were on the guest list for DragonCon I flipped out and I had to go! 

You can hear my detailed story in my DragonCon Report blog post, but in short, they were as amazing as I imagined and I had the time of my life!

8.) I got to play tour guide with my Canadian friend - I've never had someone from a different country come to my country and get to be tour guide, but it was a dream come true having my Canadian friend Cassia come to visit for two weeks and get to show her what life living in the South is like. We ate southern food, went to a peach orchard, went riving tubing, road tripped to Tennesee with another friend to go to Rock City, and hiking up a historical battlefield mountain!

9.) I saw my first new full solar eclipse - I GOT TO WITNESS DAY OF BLACK SUN! It wasn't a total eclipse from my location, but it was pretty darn close and pretty weird to see the sun look like a sliver and the sky dim a little. 

10.) I got myself together again - I'm gonna be straight with you guys for a second, I've got a lot of baggage. I've had a lot of crap go on in my life ever since I was born even before I was born that's affected me. I've dealt with grief, rejection, abuse, loneliness, mental illness, and a whole lot of other stuff and that really wore on me to the point of a breaking point. In 2016, all of that gunk came to a head and I broke.  And it's taken a long time and a lot of other things to help me recover. 

I thought years ago that I faced all of that stuff, but I really didn't, but now I feel like I've glued the pieces back together and I feel better than I have in a very long time.  Yeah, I still deal with mental health flare-ups, drama, and other circumstances, but I feel like I can handle them instead of just feeling lost. 

I grew a lot in my 24th year. Unlike the past few years where I wanted the next year to be less suckish than the previous, I don't have many expectations for my 25th year, so we'll see how it goes. 

When is your birthday? Are you planning anything special? Have you done any of these things listed as milestones?

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