Moving Out

Shortly after my last blog post, I found out that I would need to be moving out at the start of August! My parents finally received an offer on their house – a good one – and they accepted it. So they are closing on August 2, 2019. There are now less than two weeks left, so most of my time will be spent packing up the things that will follow them to their new place and the things that I will want to keep close to me.

After some back and forth, I decided to move in with my aunt and uncle for at least a month, and I will have some extra time to decide if I want to move into an apartment in September or December. The main thing holding me back has been the need to sign a lease for x-number of months. I’ve not been sure how long I want to put down roots in this area. I don’t know what else might come up! I’ve done some more job applications, here and elsewhere. If I receive a job offer in Austin, I’d prefer to be able to relocate quickly and with no hold ups.

What I’m currently thinking is that I still plan to apply to graduate school this fall, so I would not mind signing an apartment lease that would end in August 2020. I can also see myself halting the job search for the time being to focus on my current work and graduate school applications for the rest of this year. Then next year, if I have the time, I can start applying for jobs that could potentially uproot me before graduate school would.

Over the next seven days, I will be preoccupied with work, packing, and moving into my aunt’s house. I don’t think I will have extra time to blog, but one of my goals for the summer was to always prepare for fall blog content. If I have time to spare, I will use it to start planning blog posts. I’ve had so many ideas, I just need to find the time to execute them. I’ll essentially be working 40 hours a week now, but I do think I will have the time and energy to pursue the things I’m passionate about.

August Plans

Although summer is nearly at its end, I am finally going to have time to apply myself to the goals I set at the beginning of July. In my spare time outside of work, I will begin to polish old student work to use as writing samples and working on other materials required for graduate school applications.

It seems like I may have spare time at my new tutoring gig to work whatever I would like to on my MacBook Pro, so I will take advantage of that opportunity whenever possible. Right now for instance, it is slow so I am taking time to write this little life update! I will probably work on graduate school applications today and start making a plan for blog content if I don’t have too much to do this morning or in the afternoon. Yesterday no students walked in for the last three hours I was working. Of course, I realize it won’t always be like that!

End Note

I’m currently at work as I finish up this blog post! I have spent the morning looking up PhD Programs in library and information science. I am recording all the application requirements and making sure they have generous financial aid that will allow me to focus on my studies and professional development. I will probably apply to about 4–5 different programs for safety, and the best case scenario will be that I will have options to make the best possible choice for future opportunities. In case you are curious, one of my many blog plans is to share more about this process over August.

Thank you for reading!
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My Summer Plans

Hello, and welcome back to The Inky Saga! I meant to share my summer plans back in May after my last life update post (Notes on the Last Few Weeks) in which I began to delve into my job search journey and my new blogging priorities. Fortunately I didn’t because a lot has since happened that I wouldn’t have not been able to anticipate at the end of May or even last week! Thankfully, summer has only just now properly begun, so this post is not that late.

SEE: JUGGLING TWO JOBS + AUSTIN DREAMS

While I will be working nearly 40 hours a week now and continuing to apply for full-time jobs, I do hope to make the most of my time off on weekends and in the evenings to pursue my other passion projects, this blog included. I also have one major goal for this year, which is to finally apply to PhD programs, so I will need to find the time to prepare my applications materials over the summer and into fall.

The main reason I wanted to write this post, however, is I want to share what you can expect from this blog for the next few months. I know that people have decided to follow The Inky Saga for a plethora of different reasons. While in the past I have considered myself a book blogger, I’ve not used that title for almost a year now. I will never stop talking books, but there may be periods of time where I don’t have much to share on reading.

Right now I’m more interested in blogging about other things that matter to me, including topics relating to lifestyle, side hustles, and creative projects.

With all that in mind, I will now be working around 40 hours per week at two part-time jobs, while still trying to keep up with my Red Cross volunteer work, at least through August. I expect to be short on time, especially if I want to prioritize my physical health as well as my mental. So what does that mean for reading, writing, blogging, bullet journaling goals? Well, that’s what I’ve been trying to figure out!

1. Redesign my blog graphics. I’ve been excited to do this for a long time! It’s an intimidating process, because I am by no stretch of the imagination a graphic designer. Also I can be impatient when I’m trying to create something I’ve never made before and it’s not happening fast enough! However, I think I have finally figured out how to conquer this task and am finally ready to get started. I’m just going to break it into smaller tasks and document it along the way.

  • Blog header. I was playing around with Canva last month when I made the placeholder graphic I’m currently using for the blog right now, the blue and pink ombre background with a constellation motif. I’m not super happy with it, but I felt I needed something right now that better illustrated what this blog has become over the past few months. I have clear idea of what I want to make and I will likely share my creative process next month as I start to dedicate more time to it.
  • Blog post assets. I use the word “assets” here because that’s the best word I can think to use to describe what I mean. I learned it in a user-experience design class that I took in grad school. For me, it essentially refers to imagery that can recur in your product (i.e. app, website, blog etc.) that is evocative of the “brand” you have. I’ve used some recurring graphics (e.g. my End Note cloud and my Top Ten Tuesday paint-splashed featured image) in the past, but they are not very unified in color or theme.

2. Prepare fall bullet journal content. I also plan on getting back into my bullet journal content this summer after the fail that was June, but I really want to be able to hit the ground running in September as far as bujo content goes. I’d love to be able to post more on Instagram and maybe ultimately YouTube channel, but overall I want the blog to a central place for all my details and tips about keeping a bujo.

If this post had gone up in June, like I originally planned, I might’ve had a writing goal. But considering my work schedule will be increasing, I did decide I needed to put that dream on the back burner. I tried writing a little in June, but I wasn’t able to get very far. Maybe once I’m better settled into a routine and after I’ve moved (either to Austin or somewhere local) I’ll be able to think more about writing.

For anyone following this blog for bookish content, rest assured that will not be stopping! I just don’t feel an urgency to read for the sake of blogging about it. I’m in a big contemporary/mystery mood still this year and would like to make a better use of my library, so expect less polished reviews and lists and maybe more casual reading updates.

My professional plans relate to the job search and potential future career paths. I am a strong proponent of having a back up plan. PhD programs have always been my back up, not because I don’t truly want to do it, but because I didn’t want to jump into a program as fast as I did my Master’s and not have an ultimate goal in sight. So while I work on my application, I’ll have time to research the programs in which I’m interested and also think long-term about what I want to accomplish after a PhD.

1. Prepare for GRE. I took the GRE in February 2017 and did just okay. I think with more preparation I could do a lot better. I don’t know that scores would be a big part of my application, but anything that might help me get into a competitive program is worth working on. So my goal is to retake the GRE in November or December.

2. Polish my Capstone project and writing samples. I am really proud of the papers I wrote the last year of grad school and always knew what I could do make them amazing after I received my feedback on them. There’s also a major chunk missing of my Capstone that I still need to complete, so hopefully I can figure that out this summer.

3. Revamp my resume/CV. I may need to do this first! I’ve used the same resume layout that I designed in 2015 while I was a senior at ISU. I still love the way it looks, but I’ve received more than a few hints that it may not be the best showcase of my experience and skills. I’ve tweaked it over the years, but I think it’s time to start completely fresh.

4. Write a teaching philosophy. I want to apply to instructor positions at colleges/universities, and the one thing that has held me back is my lack of this piece. I’ve always thought I might like to teach at the university level, so this document may be really be a helpful reflective exercise for me. It may be something that comes in handy for other tutoring jobs or even my graduate school applications.

If luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity, I want to make sure that I am prepared for future opportunities that come my way. I’m finally in a place where I’m excited to prepare for the future and feel like it might start to look brighter. Maybe it’s because I just discovered Netflix’ Queer Eye and feel so inspired about self-improvement!

Thank you for reading!
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Notes on the Last Few Weeks

Hello, again! Welcome back to The Inky Saga. I’ve started this blog post without much of a plan but a desire to share how my life has been going. I have wanted to talk in-depth about what’s going behind the scenes since the mid-April, but it was hard to talk about anything when everything was still up in the air. I prefer not to speculate too much on this blog; it’s often painful to look back on.

I had thought I might layout my summer plans and priorities for the blog in this blog post, tentatively titled “Summer Plans,” but I realized in hindsight, that I couldn’t just  move forward on this blog without first explaining how I got to my current mental state. If you aren’t particularly interested in following my life journey, then here’s the TL;DR version: my dad was sick, I had a bunch of job interviews, and I’m all about that bullet journaling life now. Come back later this week for my summer plans!

For those of you still that are still here, curl up and get comfortable. I hope you enjoy this little slice-of-life blog post that covers life since about April 14 to the present that I’ve written and polished for your reading pleasure.

I Have Been Reading…

Reading was a constant and comfort during the chaos that was April. While I’m still not using Goodreads much, I do tweet when I start a new book. That’s how I know I started reading The Illuminae Files on April 14, 2019.

After I finished Akata Warrior by Nnedi Okorafor (see my review), I had a sudden urge to start reading again. I had yet to read the final installment Obsidio, another book I had listed on my spring TBR, and always knew I would want to reread Illuminae and Gemina again before I jumped into the final book. It was the perfect time for escapist reading. These books are massive, but oh so much fun. I reached for them mainly over the weekend and on nights where I didn’t have much else distracting me. I was able to read a lot over Easter weekend, especially after my dad got sick and needed to go to the hospital.

He had a colonoscopy the Wednesday before Easter, which went fine, but he had been having stomach trouble before then. By Saturday we knew he had not been digesting anything he eaten since the operation and could no longer keep his food down. He was at the hospital for about four nights, because he needed an IV for hydration and nutrition. After some time on a liquid, then a soft food, diet, he was back to normal. But he did get pink eye quickly soon after returning to work followed by a sinus infection. Yes, he was a mess last month!

Around this time, I had also started going on a bunch of job interviews. After months of applications, it was such a long-time coming! I could not believe how quickly I accumulated interviews, all within such a narrow time frame. It was about one every day for about eight days. I attribute it to the time of year and also my newly acquired Red Cross experience.

Before I jump into my interview experience, I will say that I’ve also finally read The Promise by Chaim Potok, another book that was on my spring TBR. It was amazing, although I do have some criticisms and a lot of questions actually. I’m not sure if I’m confident enough to dedicate an entire blog post to the book, as I’m sure a lot went over my head.

I Started a New Job…

Out of all the interviews I did, I only received one job offer and it was for the first interview(s) I did funnily enough. I had gone in for an interview for a voter registration clerk position, which was really just a seasonal position for which I would be put on a list and get called about my availability during election season. Fortuitously, the elections office had an opening in their department and the woman who interviewed me reached out to the department head across the hall while I filled out paperwork about interviewing me on the spot.

That second interview went really well and I was essentially offered that position as well, but I did let her know that I still had a few interviews lined up in the immediate future. She was extraordinarily accommodating, probably because there was no immediate urgency in filling that recent job opening. She just asked me to keep her updated.

None of my other interviews resulted in job offerings, which I admit was kind of surprising and disappointing. I put in my two weeks notice at my recreation job, because I had really hoped I might have gotten at least one other position to serve as my new main job, as I figured I’d still be able to work voter registration on the side. In the end, I have had to chalk it up to lack of office experience and just the sheer amount of competition in this area for city/county jobs.

Anyway last week after a family trip to where my parents are moving, I decided to call back the elections department head who interviewed me that first day and she was still interested in hiring me, so we arranged to have me start this week! I went in on Monday and got the lay of the land. I think working here will be a really good experience. I’ll have my own desk and just one office mate, there’s a really nice break room, and the job duties sound right up my alley. It sounds like I’ll just be updating polling station records, checking up on judges and workers leading up to elections via phone, and helping out in the warehouse with polling equipment and with training sessions.

Right now I will only be working about three days a week, so I’ll have five-day weekends! It also sounds really flexible right now, given that the next election isn’t until November, but there should be a lot of opportunities to work over-time. Cumulatively over the year, I will be working about 29 hours/week, which is the limit because they don’t want to have to provide me with full-time benefits (i.e. healthcare). It’s frustrating, but I’ll take whatever I can get.

I think I will request my work days be Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday for the time being, just so I can have long weekends during which I can visit my parents when they eventually move or go out of town just in general as I do want to travel more this year. It’ll also allow me to continue to work stretches of uninterrupted time with the Red Cross.

I do hope to dedicate a specific blog post to my work with the Red Cross, but I’m a little iffy on it, just because of proprietary regulations over ownership of words/works I create about or during my volunteer experience. I might need to ask my supervisor. I feel like she wouldn’t mind and would like me to do it for our region’s blog, which I wouldn’t mind doing, but it wouldn’t be the same as something I would write for The Inky Saga.

In summary, I have a new part-time job and will still volunteer my social media / communication skills to the Red Cross. I’ll also continue to apply to job openings that open up locally. I desperately need a full-time position but figure if I can juggle two part-time positions that pay relatively well, I may be able to survive comfortably for the time being while I accumulate work experience that could ultimately result in the dream job, or something close to it.

I Am Still Bullet Journaling…

It will come as no surprise that I am still bullet journaling, given that most of my most recent blog content has concerned this hobby. I still love it. I get such satisfaction from designing and executing my spreads. It reminds me of how excited I was when I first started blogging, so many moons ago. I still enjoy blogging and have a desire to create long-form blog content, but I’m also enjoying being more active with the international bullet journal community on Instagram.

Most of my productive free-time hours (especially around the end of each month) are spent browsing for new ideas on Instagram, planning my upcoming spreads, and finally bringing them to life in my dotted journal.

I like how this hobby is not just about the journal for its own sake, but also a means for executing other goals. It inspires me to meet my daily goals of eating right or job hunting and also pursue my other passions, of reading, writing, etc. And it’s as private or public as I decide to make it.

All that being said, bullet journaling is a priority at the moment, coming before the blog in many ways. I think that it is a good thing. I used to blog at the expense of the other areas of my life, thinking it would somehow result in the kind of life I want to have. Now I see the blog as a supplement to my bullet journal, a place to elaborate on the significant and best parts of my life and experiences but not the main project of my existence.

endnote

As I wrote at the beginning of this blog post, I’m itching to share my summer plans! Less is up in the air now that I’ve committed to my new job. I have made decisions that will impact how I spend my time off-line and on, and I think it is only right I lay it all out for you soon. Truthfully, writing these blog update posts are as much for me as they are for people who follow my blog! I always write the posts I would want to read, as I am the type of person who enjoys looking back at my past blog posts and remembering where I was at those points in time.

If you’ve read this blog post through in its entirety, know that I appreciate you and your interest in my current life as a paper bag / drifting through the wind / wanting to start again.

Thank you for reading!
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March Notes

I don’t know if I’m alone, but I felt like March was such a long and busy month. The blog kept me extremely busy. Even with spring break, I felt like there was not a lot of time for a breather. If I wasn’t working on blog posts, I was working on my bullet journal, doing Red Cross training, applying for jobs, or cleaning house if I wasn’t at my part-time job.

I like having a lot to do, but I do think I need to start making more time for myself so that I don’t feel so drained by time the weekend rolls around. I think April will be a lot less stressful, even if it’s not less busy. I have all my bullet journal’s weekly spreads set up for the month and I know what I’ll need to do for Red Cross work.

I feel like I was doing a lot of soul-searching in January and February, trying to figure out what I wanted out life and this blog. Now I feel like I know what I want to work towards. I feel less frantic and more focused.

Bookish

Bullet Journaling

Blog Tags / Awards

Blogging / Life

  • Disrupt You! by Jay Samit | I read the bulk of this book on the road during spring break. I’m really shocked I was able to read it, because I’ve not been able to read in a moving car without getting a headache since I was a child. Anyway, this book was all over the place. The author jumps back and forth with examples from his life and other famous entrepreneurs to exemplify how different parts of value chains (e.g. production, distribution, etc.) were disrupted to the profit of the disruptor. I did not feel like I got what I was hoping out of this book (i.e. specific self-help advice), but it was a fascinating read at times.
  • Akata Warrior by Nnedi Okorafor | After completing my Spring TBR, I decided my next read would be Akata Warrior. I haven’t finished the book, but I am enjoying it thus far. It had a really useful recap of the past book, so I was able to jump right back into the story without missing a beat.

Last month I shared my blog stats for the month of February. I wasn’t sure if I would continue to do so in this specific format, but I decided it was a still a good fit. It makes sense right now while my stats are still not that impressive or complex. If I ever have a remarkable month, I will dedicate an entire post to blog stats.

March was a record-breaking month for The Inky Saga. The blog grew from 288 to 363 blog followers, a net gain of 75 followers. And for the first time since last September, my blog reached 1,000 blog views! There were also 604 visitors, 383 likes, and 130 comments. I think it was the first time I reached 100 blog views in just one day. For posting just fourteen blog posts, I don’t think that’s too shabby!

September 2018 was my last really good blog month, but I did not keep up with blogging after that. I’m really optimistic that the blog could see significant growth over the rest of the year if I keep blogging, blog hopping, and promoting my blog via Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter. It’ll be really excited to see if my efforts pay off over time.

My two most popular blog posts this month were How to Avoid Blogger Burnout + New Blog Schedule (45 Likes) and The Wanderlust Tag | Blog Tag (38 Likes). They are also two of my most recent posts, but the next most successful posts are other tags/community memes. My personal favorite was probably my Leslie Knope TBR.

Moving into April, my blog strategy will be to publish least one evergreen post (e.g. how-to or advice) and one community post each week and then something extra, like a book review, job search update, or a compilation post. I will also try to stay on my schedule and get a lot done well in advance. I also want to start up my YouTube account for content I don’t want to write and post regularly on Instagram.

Sunday morning I sat down with my April bujo planner and started jotting down blog post ideas. I looked at the Top Ten Tuesday and Top 5 Tuesday prompts and picked out a few I was interested in, thought about the books I would like to read and review, and re-listed some of the blog posts ideas I’ve had in mind for a while. I’m actually thinking I may pick a few days I can spare this week and front load a lot of the work for the more time-demanding blog posts.

I’m not exactly sure yet what will be up on the blog this week. I know what I’d like to post, but realize I may not have time to finish anything I don’t manage to start this weekend. I don’t want to have anymore publishing mishaps in April, so I’m not scheduling anything that’s not complete!

How was your March?

What was your favorite blog post this month (mine or yours)? ^_^

Thank you for reading!
Follow my blog via Bloglovin’. Also find me on Twitter and Instagram.

What is The Inky Saga? | Letter from the Blogger

Hello! Welcome to The Inky Saga, a bookish lifestyle blog for creative and entrepreneurial spirits. I think most of my followers will remember me as Lori @ Betwined Reads, but in February I finally decided to take the leap of upgrading my blog; rebranding it in the process. I had known all year that I needed a big change, but it was scary deciding to invest in myself.

I started The Inky Saga with big dreams. I’m a bookish person. I’m introverted. I’m on a perpetual search for life fulfillment in everything I do, be it reading, writing, or bullet journalling. My goal is create my own success and become self-sufficient through blogging. I also want to help others celebrate the beauty in their lives and become empowered through their creativity.

As much as I love the book blog community, I’ve always felt like I was on its fringe. I now officially feel that I’ve outgrown that period of my life and am ready to see what can come next. I’ll still be interacting with the book blog community whenever I can by participating in bookish memes or tags and reading posts to keep up with new noteworthy releases. The change is mainly in priorities for original content on my end.

On The Inky Saga, you will be able to find posts on everything from:

  1. Books (popular literature, non-fiction, research, recommendations, etc.)
  2. Bullet journalling (how to’s, spread ideas, inspiration, etc.)
  3. Blogging tips (post ideas, branding, SEO, collaborations, useful resources, monetization, etc.)
  4. Starting a creative business (creating products people want, promotion, money management, time management, etc.)
  5. Social media strategies (building a following, creating content, etc.)
  6. Living well (organization, volunteer work, thoughtful gifts, home DIY, saving money, self-care, etc.)

If any of those things sound good to you, you’re in the right place! I’m certain I will strike the right balance between everything I produce, and I promise to continue to keep you updated on everything I’m learning and doing behind-the-scenes. This blog will remain as personal and close to my heart as it’s ever been while I work to expand my reach and create stuff of value for my fellow bloggers and creatives.

Recent Posts: The Vanishing Stair (Truly Devious, #2) by Maureen Johnson | Top 5 Tuesday: Beautiful Book SpinesMarch Bullet Journal SpreadFebruary BuJo Flip-ThroughFebruary’s Inky Notes

I feel like my blog has kept me busier than ever before, but I’ve been so excited about everything I’m doing that it hasn’t felt too much like work yet. It’s work I love doing. Like I mentioned in my last post, I’m going out of town for a few days. I’ve been trying to plan blog posts so that it’s not quiet here while I’m away. I know it’s Women’s History Month and I want to plan some stuff around that, specifically books and the women that I find inspiring.

Thank you for reading!
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February’s Inky Notes

Life Lately

February always seems to fly by, probably because it is the shortest month of the year. Somehow it’s managed to be a time of sadness, annoyance, and optimism. My family lost Apollo this month and I can still scarcely think or talk about him with out my eyes watering up, but it’s getting easier. They’re bittersweet tears for the most part.

I will also remember this month as the one I lost a bunch of money, between my smartphone coming down with the “black screen of death” and discovering I had cavities I needed to fill before I got bumped off my parents’ insurance. Thankfully I had enough money in my bank account to pay off my credit card before my statement period ended. I’m also thankful my tax return came in this month, so my bank account will be back in good shape before long!

I think I will look back on this month as a time when I worked super hard to learn how I might ultimately be able to support myself without the need for a full-time job. I feel like I’m on the cusp of something strange, new, exciting, brilliant, and I don’t want this feeling to fade!

On the Blog

Bookish

Bullet Journalling

Lifestyle

Blogging / Tech

Read But Not Reviewed

  • Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston | I decided to pick this book up in honor of Black History Month. The book spans the protagonist’s life from her relatively privileged childhood through becoming a woman and going through her three husbands. It’s a book of self-awakening and ultimate empowerment. At times it’s funny, relatable, and heart-breaking because the protagonist is a dreamer, a woman ahead of her time. I feel like this book very much deserves the distinction of being a classic. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the life of black women at the turn of the century in the rural South.
  • Disrupt You by Jay Samit | I’m not finished this book, but it’s one I started in December that I still wanted to try to finish. I’m enjoying it right now. I feel like it’s a good time to read this inspirational book as I’m trying to build up my blog.

Blog Stats

I don’t know if I really qualify as a book blogger anymore, but book blogs are still primarily what I read online! One insightful piece I read by Marie @ Drizzle & Hurricane Books this week inspired my decision to start sharing my blog stats. In her post, she so aptly describes the book blogger’s complicated relationship to our blog stats. Almost everyone says they don’t let their stats define them, but I think everyone cares more than they are willing to admit.

Around the time I decided to upgrade my blog to a Premium account (February 17, 2019), I also decided that it was time I start treating my blog like my job. I’ve slowly been branching out what I talk about on this blog, in the hopes of growing my blog and staying true to myself. I feel like a lot of book bloggers out grow this community and I want to be a shining example of what can come next.

I’m monitoring my stats a lot more carefully these days, if only to see what types of blog posts do well and where my views are coming from. I’m a little shy to share these screenshots, because I know I do not have a very “successful” blog. I’ve never really been one to chase trends, blogging only when I had an abundance of time on my hands and when I felt like it. I’m also not super out-going when it comes to making and sustaining blogging friendships.

monthly-trend-feb
Monthly Blog Growth of The Inky Saga

February’s views and visitors clearly correlate with my blogging schedule. I wasn’t very active the first week after I upgraded my blog, so the 18th–25th is very low. Tuesdays are generally my highest performing days if I participate in a bookish meme (e.g. Top Ten Tuesday). I was shocked how many people read my February 26th blog post (Top Five Tuesday: Hogwarts House Reads!). I was actually a little worried if half of them were spam views because after I upgraded my blog I discovered I had a little more random blog followers (i.e. not book bloggers or creative types) and almost half the visitors were from India, which is not normal for me.

daily-feb

The last weekend of February I saw a lot of brand new blog followers, bringing my monthly total from 240 to 288. While it’s nice knowing people are finding my blog content worth following, these new followers are not exactly in my target demographic. Which is to say young, millennial creatives! Like me! But obviously anyone who is truly interested in everything this blog has to offer is welcome here. I figure anyone who’s not can be weeded out with more bookish/lifestyle posts. ^_^

In March I’m hoping to learn more about how to better promote my blog across Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. I’ve decided to be ambitious and aim to reach 400 blog followers by March 31st. I’m hoping that comments and likes continue to grow at a parallel pace, comments especially because I love feeling like my blog posts are just a conversation starting point.

If you’re interested in more of my blog stat analysis, I plan to do them each month for the foreseeable future. I may also have some more posts during the month if I feel I have any sort of wisdom to share on the topic.

endnote

I hope you enjoyed this post! It’s been a while since I did a monthly-wrap-up-type of post. I didn’t really know if I wanted to revisit my old format (e.g. May Notes ➴, June Notes ➴, July Notes ➴) or do something more minimalistic. It was a last minute decision to add my blog stats, so I hope that didn’t make this post too much of a slog!

Next up I will likely be sharing my March bujo and goals. I’m also aware I still need to reintroduce the blog for anyone who’s wondering who the heck and I am and how they ended up following me! I feel like I also need to do it for myself, just to have record of my intentions for this blog going forward.

Thank you for reading!
Follow my blog via Bloglovin’. Also find me on Twitter and Instagram.

26 Goals

I didn’t expect to take a week off of blogging. In fact, I had planned to celebrate my blog upgrade with a full week of blog posts! But you all know me; I like to work on a bunch of different things at time. So I ended last Sunday with a bunch of half-finished posts. Then the week started and I had little time for blog productivity.

I had an interview this week for a new part-time job that would pay a lot better. I finally filed my tax return so I could receive my tax refund, and I definitely need it this year. I also began my Red Cross volunteer application! I have a phone interview this coming Monday for a communications position in my region. It would be the dream experience, and I’m so nervous that I’ll be rejected.

Also it was my birthday on Thursday, which inspired this post. I had planned to share 26 goals I wanted to accomplish while I’m 26 last weekend, as a way to focus myself for my “new year.” I had the list written out in advance, but I wanted to add some commentary before I sent it out into the world. I feel like this post is a legal contract; I’m taking it very seriously!

  1. Get a full-time job. Ideally this would’ve happen last year. It needs to happen ASAP to be honest.
  2. Run a 5k. I came close to running one last November, but then I had my nasal surgery and it just wasn’t a good idea anymore.
  3. Avoid future back injury. I am now officially prone to back injury, but I truly believe it is 100% preventable. I am better a-tuned to the warning signs and know what to do in order to stop it, so I want to prioritize my body’s self-care while I’m 26. Losing weight, exercising regularly, taking hot baths, all these things can help me prevent another back strain.
  4. Visit my writing buddy Sara. We made this a joint new year’s resolution! We haven’t seen each other in person since 2015. We’ll probably try to find something practical as well as fun to do to meet.
  5. Attend a conference or convention of some sort. This item goes with the one above. Ideally, Sara and I would go to some kind of useful writing conference.
  6. Start a small business. This has been an idea of mine for the past year or so, especially as I began to realize how dissatisfied I am with the current job market. I don’t feel like I’m the most obvious person to start their own business, but that is something that actually inspires me!
  7. Upgrade my blog. I actually took the plunge here a few days before my birthday, but I would say that this goal is not entirely complete. There are more things that fall under my idea of a “blog upgrade,” including building a blog identity (logo, imagery) and maybe even a newsletter for those who follow my blog by email as it is.
  8. Build an online community. I feel like I have a handful of bloggers who I semi-regularly interact with but I want to do more to make my blog a place where it feels like a community of peers. I feel like I, and a few others, are on the outskirts of the YA book blog community. I want to do more to help others my age who love writing and books to feel seen and be inspired.
  9. Collaborate with others online. I feel like blogging would be so much more fun if I was less of an island on my little blog and branched out/invited others into my corner for collaborative activities. I’d like to have guest bloggers write specific blog posts on here.
  10. Meet online friends in person. I know a lot of the bloggers I’m closest with live in far off lands I would love to visit. Australia, East Asia, the American East Coast. I think it would great fun to meet-up with others and feel the comfort of knowing people who already live where I want to travel regardless!
  11. Write a novel. Bleh, no comment.
  12. Start a YouTube channel. I’ve dabbled in vlogging a few times in the past, but never for long. With the expanse of new vlog content, I’m feeling really inspired and like I can figure out a way to vlog that works for me. Since my old channel is associated with my job-search and real name, I’ll be starting again from scratch, probably sometime soon, to talk whatever is on my mind.
  13. Move out on my own. I feel like this goal might happen sooner than I would’ve thought. It doesn’t need to happen so soon, but I feel like it’s something I really want and need.
  14. Use my passport. I got it last year and I want to use it! Even if it’s just countries bordering my own for a quick day-trip. Ideally I’d go overseas, but I need a really good reason to go since I don’t have a lot of money at the moment.
  15. Learn to make a good quiche. This one is kind of silly, but I just made a quiche that was go terrible. I love a good quiche. If I go out to eat breakfast somewhere that has quiche, I’ll almost certainly order it. I want to be able to make dough from scratch.
  16. Start saving for retirement/investing. I feel like I don’t have the money to start setting aside right now, but the bigger problem has been that I’ve never worked somewhere that offers the option of a 401k, whatever the hell that is. I feel like I’m just going to have to take the initiative on my own and start my own official savings, especially if the whole small business thing takes off.
  17. Get good with money. I think this one speaks for itself, but the main thing I want is to stop being so careless with expenses. I want to be more mindful about where I put my money and keep better track of where it goes. I want to start budgeting monthly expenses.
  18. Volunteer. I already have the ball rolling here with reaching out to the Red Cross this week. Not only would be it be great experience that I need, I think it will be good for the soul. In many ways I feel like an incredibly selfish person, but I love feeling like I’m contributing to a worth-while cause.
  19. Become fluent in German. I feel like this is another silly one, but I feel like it’d be good for the mind. I miss school, and learning German has helped give my student-oriented brain something to focus on. I continue to go weeks without studying, so hopefully this goal will help push me to be more consistent.
  20. Start an entirely new hobby. It’s time to learn something new, something that has nothing to do with my current life goals or interests. I feel like most of my hobbies that always fallen into the realm of usefulness. I want to start a hobby that is completely useless.
  21. Establish a makeup routine. I used to hate the idea of needing to wear makeup, but I feel like it’s never been more fun to use your face as a canvas. Plus, I need it to protect my skin from the sun and cover my natural redness. I now watch as many beauty channels as other kinds of channels on YouTube, and I feel like I’m at an age where I really should know what I’m doing and have a few really good go-to products.
  22. Create a capsule wardrobe. I’ve long hated how many clothes I have, especially since I only wear a few. The unfortunate truth is that I have multiple closets in one. I’d say all the clothes I own encapsulate different visions of myself: present, past, and future. For years, I’ve shopped for all these visions without quite realizing it, for by telling myself it’s too good a bargain to pass up, that my future self would thank me. I really want to stop doing this and only have clothes that I can wear at the present and feel confident.
  23. Get a tattoo. I was never someone who wanted to get a tattoo, but I feel like there’s a lot of different options for all kinds of people and that it might be a fun experience to share with someone. I think it would also help me figure out what matters to me and who I am. I feel like part of the reason I’ve always been so disinterested is because of the permanency. I think getting a tattoo would force me to really think about myself.
  24. Read 10 classics. I feel like there are a lot of classics I have at my fingertips and that I really ought to start reading some of them. I feel like it would be good inspiration for the writer in me.
  25. Go to a party. I have been invited to parties in the past and been very quick to say no. I’m cautious about hanging out with people from work that I don’t know very well, because I’m a square and maybe a little bit of a snob. I worry about people getting to know the real me! But I figure I need to get better at socializing and casual parties with people I don’t care about very much might be good low-risk practice.
  26. Get a new pet. We lost Apollo this month, and while I don’t believe in replacing pets, for I know first-hand that every dog different in temperament and personality. We still have little Ty-Ty, but he’s my parents’ dog. I want a dog I can call my own. That would be the benefit of having my own place. If I live on my own, I can adopt my companion. I’m not sure my first solo pet should be a dog. A cat might be a better choice…I’m not the biggest cat person, but I have enjoyed kittens in the past. Maybe I’ll just become a foster until my life is more stable.

I hope you enjoyed reading this post! Let me know what goals most resonate with you. I’m not sure how I’ll track my progress on these goals. Maybe I’ll do a corresponding blog post before my 27th birthday and share everything that changed in my life while I was 26.

I’m not going to be miserable if I don’t get to everything on this list. My goal is simply to live more fully. I want to stop feeling like my life hasn’t truly started yet because x, y, and z haven’t happened yet. I want to be more pro-active. I’m coming to the realization that things are not just going to fall into my lap. I have to make things happen myself.

Thank you for reading!
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2019 Resolutions ⁂ ✧.: *: ・

Happy New Year!

This post is coming at you a little later than originally anticipated on account of the fact that I’ve been dealing with a flare up of back pain since last Friday, and it is probably the worst my back has felt in the five years since my first back injury in 2013. It’s slowly getting better, but it was hard to do anything that involved sitting up properly. Which is to say most things.

Fortunately for me, I’ve not had regular work hours. So I had already been planning for 2019 all last week! I had set my goals for the new year, prepared my January bullet journal, and even been working on some new blog ideas. I’m ready to make 2019 the best year of my life despite this rough start!

  1. Upgrade my blog. I’ve been thinking of recommitting myself to my blog by upgrading so I can take more control of what it looks like into my own hands. I’m currently playing around with new blog names, but I have some brainstorming to do before I make anything official.
  2. Read 24 books. My mini-goal at the moment is to read one fiction and one non-fiction book each month. I know I will have months where I will read much more than that, but I do feel like I want to get through more of the older books in my physical TBR this year.
  3. Journal. I have so many notebooks I’ve collected over the years that I want to finally put to good use. Last year I started dabbling a bit more seriously in bullet journalling and I would like to start blogging about it.
  4. Write like it’s 2012. My best times writing were my sophomore year of college, and I would like to take myself back to basics this year. Outlining has not been working out. I feel like I need to stop trying to force myself to work on WIPs when I don’t feel like it. So I simply want to write anything on a regular basis. It doesn’t have to be a cohesive. I just want to write.
  5. Level up my German and Spanish. I started learning both casually in early 2018. I’ve kept up with the German, but I want to pick up Spanish again as well. I’m hoping to find a good balance of study time between the two languages this year.
  6. Reset my forms of online recreation. I want to start a new YouTube account for subscribing to different kinds of channels and eventually start uploading my own content. I want to stop using Tumblr and Goodreads, because they are not essential.  I want to cut myself off from my smartphone after 8 p.m. each night so I can end the night doing more chill activities. Basically, I want to shake things up.

These are just a few of the goals I have for myself. I also have some collaborative goals with my writing buddy, some personal health/wellness goals, and some career-related goals that I don’t want to get into on the blog just yet.

I’m hoping to start posting every other day or so on the blog, but only so long as 1) it is fun and 2) I don’t feel like I’m wasting my time or yours. Next up I will probably talk about my bullet journal and my most recent reads.

Let me know if you have any similar goals!

Kingdom of Ash | Weekend Reads

Happy Friday! I’m back again this Friday with my weekend reading plans. It’s taken me all month, but I finally finished An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green. It started off a little rocky for me, but I was blown away by the ending and now can’t stop thinking about it. It even made me tear up a little. (I’m hoping to write a proper review soon!)

Last Wednesday I had my endoscopic surgery on my nose. Everything went fine, but it was miserable constantly needing to clean my nose and change my gauze. I’m not sure I would ever go through this surgery again if I needed it. Hopefully I’ll never have to deal with a broken nose!

I thought I’d be able to get a lot done, but my recovery was mostly spent sleeping whenever I could and doing stuff that I could do with my head up. So I watched a lot of T.V.! I did have days where I managed a bit of reading, but it was hard to do consistently when I wasn’t even eating or sleeping consistently.

koaRight now I feel like reading ALL THE THINGS, so it was a little hard to decide what my next read would, especially since I’m reading like one book per month at the moment. Then I started seeing Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas, the long-awaited finale to the epic Throne of Glass series, pop up in my social media feeds and realized that it’d be the perfect thing to read right now.

I’ve always bought the books in the Throne of Glass series in their digital form via Amazon Kindle (the first books were amazing $2/$3 deals). Right now, I figured an eBook might find it easier for me to read from my phone/iPad than a physical book that I would need to hold up and possibly drop on my face. I’ve dropped my phone on my face in the past as well. Nevertheless, it’s lighter than a book!

 ☙ ❧ END NOTE ❧ ☙

Now that I’m starting to feel better, I’m hoping I’ll be able to end the month strong. I’ve been thinking a lot about my blog where I want to take it. I love switching things up and following my whims when it comes to this blog. Hopefully there will always be something for everyone, especially the people who originally followed.

As much as I hate to admit it, I feel like I got caught up in the blog growth game again and need to hit the restart button. I need to feel the freedom of being able to blog whenever I feel like it and not just because people are expecting something specific from me. I’ll elaborate on this some more soon.

What are you reading this weekend?

Thank you for reading!
Follow my blog via Bloglovin’. Also find me on GoodreadsTwitter, and Instagram.

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing | Weekend Reads

Happy Friday! Every Friday on Weekend Reads I try to kick off the weekend off talking about what I read the week previous and what I hope to read over the weekend. I’ve not been doing much reading lately, but I do hope to turn that around this month.

I’ve been watching a lot of television once I get home from work in the evening and by that time I’m usually already very tired. I wake up early so I can be productive in the morning, but I’ve also had a lot of errands to run related to my job, my mom’s post-op appointments, and my upcoming nasal surgery (10/17). But I’ve also been hard at work on my novel!

Nevertheless, I really want to read some more. As I’m writing, I keep thinking about my writing style and which authors I would like to emulate. Reading similar works while writing my novel helps a lot, so I want to try to finish up my current read so I can pick up some fantasy again!

anabsolutelyI started An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green after I finished Howl’s Moving Castle the weekend after its debut. It took me a little while to get accustomed to the narrator’s voice, but I’m very much invested now in the mystery of the story. The only thing I’m struggling with is that the protagonist is clearly making dumb decisions but unwilling to stop it. It’s one of my pet peeves in books. I often just can’t relate.

But I do think there’s a lot of fascinating details about the nature and navigation of internet fame. The book goes into detail about how agents and other behind-the-scenes managers help entertainers cash in on their notoriety. It’s super icky but also understandable why people want to take advantage of opportunities that they may never see again.

 ☙ ❧ END NOTE ❧ ☙

This weekend I hope to post my next installment of NaNoWriMo Prep, the first of which went up this past Wednesday (OctoWriMo | NaNoWriMo Prep). I’m sorry I’ve not been too active in the blogosphere, but I hope to make up for it now that I have a better handle on all the stuff I’m up to.

I’ll have about a week off after my surgery next Wednesday, and it sounds like I won’t be able to do much else but read, write, and blog. So that should be fun!

What are you reading this weekend?

Thank you for reading!
Follow my blog via Bloglovin’. Also find me on GoodreadsTwitter, and Instagram.