Well That Escalated Quickly

As you may recall, I had to move out of my parents’ house last week. Thankfully I had requested the week off of my part-time elections job, because last week was bonkers. Before I start explaining why, it might be important to note that the Saturday before I had spent the whole day applying for UT Austin jobs. It took me all day because I was tailoring all my cover letters to each specific job based on the information I was provided about the job listings. You know, as is typically recommended.

As silly as I know it sounds, I have tried to avoid applying for jobs that require a cover letter in the past. It always seemed like a lot of work to me when I have hoped my resume might speak for itself. Honestly, I could kick myself for being so clueless. In total I have already received three interview requests thus far from just the ten applications I completed last weekend.

I had the first two this week, one on Thursday and one on Friday. Thankfully they were both offered virtually! I was able to complete them in between work (at my tutoring gig), packing and moving boxes, and cleaning out my parents’ house. I only got good vibes from the first one, but I know from experience that doesn’t necessarily mean anything. The third interview I have is scheduled for Wednesday, August 14th.

However, I also received word on Thursday morning that I have finally been offered the temporary part-time Office Assistant position which I applied for in April. It’s not official yet; they still for need me to take a drug test (which I have nothing to worry about, for the record). But I had already been debating whether I would take this position or not after learning in June that I would only be allowed to work about 25 hours a week.

Yes, there is a possibility it could become a full-time position after six months, but how can I know if I would really be happy there long-term? It’s in a criminal justice-type department, so they’re likely to be really serious and strict in the way I’ve not enjoyed at the elections office. They’ve not told me exactly what I’d be doing since I had the interview, if they did at all. I cannot remember much of the interview since I wasn’t too optimistic about my odds and did not think about it much afterward.

Now here’s where things start to get complicated. As the Fall 2019 semester is about to start, there are not many good options for apartments in Austin available anymore. I feel like the options are only going to continue to get worse, so I have been considering accepting the part-time job and keeping my fingers crossed that a full-time one will come through in the next couple of weeks. But if one doesn’t, I’ll need another part-time job to supplement my income if I am going to uproot myself from the two part-time jobs I still currently hold.

With that in mind, I applied to a writing tutor position at a community college nearby yesterday. It did not require a cover letter, but since I have gotten the hang of writing them I wrote something and I got a call a couple hours later! I now have an interview lined up for Wednesday, assuming that I am able to find out if the hours as an Office Assistant would be flexible enough to allow me to also work about 15–19 hours somewhere else.

I also realized as a consequence of needing to go to Austin so quickly, I would not have much time to do a proper final two weeks at either job. Thankfully, my presence at these two places is not absolutely essential. There is still enough time to find a replacement before things start to get busy this fall. But if I am going to need my supervisors’ references, I might run into a little bit of trouble. I have a feeling both will be understanding based on how well I’ve gotten to know them. I hate that I’m leaving them both so soon, but I need a full-time job and even if one is not immediately on the horizon just yet I will now be living where I want to finally start my life.

I know that I am moving to Austin this month no matter what, but it’s hard to look for apartments when you’re three hours away and do not know how much income you will have for living expenses. The common sense thing is to rent somewhere cheap, but most leases want you to commit for close to a year and I would rather move into a place that I know I would be happy living for at least a couple of years. I am ready to start making a place a home of my own.

So here are a few things that will be happening over the next week as I prepare to start a new job in Austin at the earliest around August 15th.

  1. Turn in resignation letters to both of my job and complete some courtesy hours. I already submitted my resignation to the elections job, which is a job I hope I don’t need to keep working past this week since it’s now so far away and pays so little. At the writing tutor gig my supervisor is on vacation, so I hope he is able to check his email. Ideally I would like to work as much as possible this week at this job so I have one more really good paycheck to help me with my first month’s rent.
  2. Finish fixing my car. I had to have my brakes fixed this weekend, because they were in really bad shape. I was also told I’d need to have four-wheel alignment and a CV axel (?) either fixed or replaced really soon or my tires might be in trouble…? The service repairman explained it all, but I am not good with cars so the technical talk went a little over my head! But I have worried about my car giving out on me, so I’ll pay for these things for the peace of mind.
  3. Ask about hours at Office Assistant job on Monday. The person I am potentially interviewing with Wednesday has requested I find out what kind of hours I would be available to tutor.
  4. Complete drug testing. That shouldn’t take long, but it needs to be done Monday as well so the processing is completed quickly and I am able to start that part-time job August 15th.
  5. Look for an apartment! Once again, I am not sure what my budget could allow, but I do feel I find something right now so that I am not in a bind mid-August and worrying about a place to live on top of starting a new job.
  6. Apply for more full-time jobs. There have been a few more listings pop up on the UT Austin job board and it might be a good idea to apply to a few more in case nothing I’ve already interviewed for comes through. I can also start to look for specific companies based in Austin that might have full-time openings right now as well.

My mind is still blown by all these developments this week. If I hadn’t been forced to move out of my parents house this week, I may not have considered gambling with my current job situation and used the time I can live with my aunt and uncle to save. But I can’t help but feel this is the right move. I am so ready to live on my own and officially start my professional life. Moving is not fun, so I feel like if I can avoid unpacking right now just to pack up again in a month or two it will be worth it.

End Note

I will continue to work the blog this month whenever I can! I’ve been doing some blog maintenance while I think about what I want to produce. I hope I’ll be able to breathe new life into this blog this month. If you poke around, you may discover a few changes I’ve already made and make guesses as to where my blog focus will be once I am able to properly jump back into it next month if not sooner.

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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Job Applications & NaNoWriMo Prep! | Week in Review

Welcome back to my Week in Review, the weekly feature where I share links to everything that went up on the blog this week, mini life updates, and anything else I found noteworthy during the week. I was super busy and active this week but not so much on the blog.

The first part of the week I was busy doing some lengthy job applications and errands for my current job. I needed to go to the police station to get my picture taken for my I.D. badge that grants me free access to the community center, a perk of my part-time job. I also took a free clerical test downtown so that I could apply for some other city jobs. I’m hoping I might be able to work at my local library!

I’ve also been trying to more active each day. I started taking my little guy Ty on walks every morning during the school week and continued that this week. I also started doing about 20 minutes of Pilates every afternoon before work. I get cardio at work from running around with the kids, but I still want to tone up!

➴ This Week on Betwined Reads . . .

This week I only published three blog posts! I definitely knew there was no way I was going to repeat last week. While I loved having a post up practically every day, I knew I needed to give myself a break from the late night post polishing. I’m still working on finding my happy medium.

TTTpages
Books on My Fall TBR
Weekend Reads
A Quick Blog Update
TBRbooktag
TBR Book Tag

➴ The Job Search

Normally this space would be dedicated to noteworthy blog posts from the week, but I didn’t do too much blog hopping this week. Instead I thought I’d share some of the job positions I applied for, in case anyone is wondering what kinds of jobs a former English major can apply for.

  1. Human Resources Foreign Service Officer (Full-time)
  2. Tourism Coordinator (Full-time)
  3. Shelving Clerk (Part-time)
  4. Community Facility Worker (Part-time)

I’m still applying to part-time jobs because I’d like to work a few more hours right now outside of my current part-time job. I’m hoping to get some office experience that will help me get my foot in the door at those entry-level jobs that require a certain amount of office experience to begin with. Can we all roll our eyes together now?

➴ Novel Progress

I’m bummed I didn’t write a Novel Progress on Wednesday. I ended up coming up with a great idea for it too! I think I will use it this week. It’s about different kinds of writing goals. I’ve not talked about that on Betwined Reads yet, and I’ve been thinking a lot about goals that work best for me right now.

I will also go ahead and announce right here that I will be participating in NaNoWriMo this year, probably with the project I’m working on right now, but I’m not 100% sure yet. I’ve been itching to try my hand at writing a contemporary! Whatever I end up writing, October will be spent preparing for the November writing frenzy.

As Novel Progress will be dedicated to NaNoWriMo prep, each Wednesday I will share resources and advice for anyone thinking about joining in November.

Tentative Schedule

  • Oct. 3: Announcement + Plans
  • Oct. 10: Deciding What to Write
  • Oct. 17: A Writing Bullet Journal + Organization Tips
  • Oct. 24: NaNoWriMo Survival Kit
  • Oct. 31: Making Time to Write

☙ ❧ END NOTE ❧ ☙

I’m hoping to have a very productive Sunday! Saturday took it easy, taking care of household chores in between working on my novel. Today I want to finish up some blog posts ahead time and do some much needed reading. I have about five posts currently that I’d like to share this week, so I need to get a few of them drafted today so that I’m ready for anything else that might pop up during the week.

Thank you for reading!
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Preparing for October | Week in Review

Welcome back to my Week in Review, the weekly feature where I share links to everything that went up on the blog this week,  mini life updates, and anything else I found noteworthy during the week. Since I’ve been blog hopping quite regularly each day, I decided I wanted to start sharing some of the great blog posts I come across each week!

I need to learn how to keep better track of blog posts over the week, though. I feel like I’ve most definitely forgotten about some posts I would’ve loved to share :,(

Usually Septembers are not all that memorable for me, but I think this one will go down in the books! I don’t know how I’ve managed to blog so much. I’m also already planning so much content for next month. October is the month I traditionally spend on NaNoWriMo preparation, but since I’m also participating in  Blogoween  next month there’s a lot I need to do before October 1st!

➴ This Week on Betwined Reads . . .

This week I published six blog posts! I’m still in awe of how I was able to accomplish it. I know if kept me busy practically every day, but now it somehow it feels like nothing. I look at these posts and wonder how I found the time to write them!

TTTpages
Hidden Gems
novelp
Developing a Writing Routine
howiresistfeat
How I Resist | Anthology Review
Weekend Reads
Strange the Dreamer & Understanding Comics
The Sunshine Blogger Award (Take 2 & 3)
Blogoween (Level 1) Announcement!

➴ Blog Hopping

  • Briana opened up her 2018 book blogger survey to help get a sense of what the community considers “normal.”
  • I’ve been looking into bullet journaling and discovered this really inspiring little blog post from Olivia earlier this year.
  • Last week Clo introduced a new book blogger event called Blogoween and this week shared some more details for participants!
  • This week there were two posts that made me think about our international book bloggers. Clo got a conversation started about the consequences of the pre-dominance of the English language in publishing. Marie shared some answers about common questions international book bloggers receive about why it is so difficult to get books overseas.

➴ Novel Progress

Not really a writing update, but I updated my static Novel Progress page to list all the writing updates I’ve ever written on this blog. The most recent ones are actually linked, so feel free to marathon them if you’re ever feeling bored and/or have too much time on your hands!

Writing-wise, I had some writing sprints with my writing buddy on Saturday. I decided to start writing in a Google doc, so she could access what I write whenever she wants. I figure it will keep me accountable. Plus, it’s a backup of my work!

My short-time goal is to write 10 single-spaced pages by next weekend. I started a new prologue this weekend and I’m liking it so far, even if it does not read too plausibly yet. It’s an alternative universe fantasy, but grounded in world I want to feel real. I may need to read up on anthropology in the 1930s!

☙ ❧ END NOTE ❧ ☙

I’m gearing up Sunday for another busy week, but also trying to take time for myself to read and write without distraction. I feel like I’ve been blogging 24/7, whether it means working on blog posts, responding to comments, and reading other people blogs. I love it, but I don’t want it to take over my life. I may need to take a little time off this week to set some time frames for when I’ll be on WordPress!

Thank you for reading!
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Feels Like a Renaissance | Week in Review

Welcome back to my Week in Review, the weekly feature where I share went down on the blog this week and what’s been going on behind-the-scenes. It’s been a surprisingly great week where creativity has been soaring. I go through ups and downs when it comes to blogging and how much time and work I want to put into it. Right now, I’m loving it again!

I’ve also finally started blog hopping again, which has reminded me how good it can feel to get involved in bookish discussions and share in the celebrations of other bloggers’ personal and blogging accomplishments!

I’m also feeling more comfortable in my new job. I’ve made a really good friend in one of my co-workers. I also just feel more confident interacting with the kids. My job can be so much fun, because it’s literally playing games with kids. Yes, I’m often playing peace-keeper and disciplinarian, but I think of it as a benefit that I’m able to hone these leadership skills in such a safe and supportive environment.

➴ This Week on Betwined Reads . . .

This week I was extremely productive, and no one is more surprised than I am! I managed to prepare three blog posts this week. Thursday’s post “Happy National Read-a-Book Day” was actually developed completely on the fly, I had no idea the day was coming up. It’s great know I can whip up a blog post idea one morning and have it up in the afternoon. Not that I want to do it all the time!

novelp
How I Plotted Troubling a Star
TheGreatAmericanRead
Happy National Read-a-Book Day!
Weekend Reads
The Weekend Experiment

➴ Blog Housekeeping

This week I came up with some featured images I can use for Novel Progress and Weekend Reads. I don’t see myself using them long-term, but they work for now as I continue to work on my design skills. The thing about creating my own images is that it takes a lot of time to accomplish very little.

Ultimately, I’d like all my graphics to be completely original and have similar elements (e.g. color scheme, art style) across the board that connect them visually to me and my blog. Right now, I feel like I’m trying to figure out what I like.

I’d like to start sharing resources and tips on simple graphic design tools once I get better at this. I expect Mondays will eventually alternate as a day for Lifestyle and How To-style posts.

My aim is also to ultimately be able to knock out a few blog posts during the weekend before they’re scheduled to go up (or earlier), just so I have more free time for reading, writing, and spontaneity during the week before work. I think it will become easier once less time needs to be dedicated to creating graphics.

➴ Novel Progress

Last week I talked about how I plotted my current WIP (How I Plotted Troubling a Star | Novel Progress). This week I will be talking about how I’m developing a writing routine. So that’s been one of my priorities this weekend. The hardest thing about writing is sitting down and sticking with your story in face of so many distractions. I think it’s easier when you know you’re not alone, so my hope is this week’s post will inspire others to dedicate the time required to finish their WIPs.

☙ ❧ END NOTE ❧ ☙

I have four posts planned for this week (Tuesday–Friday) that I’ve been working on this weekend so that they may go up earlier than last week’s posts. I want to see if there’s a difference in views and engagement depending on when the posts go live, as I have blog readers who live all over the world (Hi!).

However, this might turn out to be a tough week. My mom will be having a major foot operation on Monday (funnily enough, my dad’s birthday), so I don’t know yet how that will affect my productivity. She’ll need to stay off her feet and, unfortunately, my mom tends to be one of those people who doesn’t like to be miserable alone. So I’m sure there will be some tension in the house this week. :S

Thank you for reading!
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New Month, (Slightly) New Blog | Week in Review

Happy September! Welcome to my Week in Review, formerly called Weekly Review. Since the blog is currently undergoing some subtle changes, I decided I wanted to rename this weekly feature this month to more accurately reflect what they have become: a summary of my week. Let’s get started.

The last week of August was terrific, until I got a sinus infection.

I started my new part-time job on Tuesday. I’m a part of an eight-person team that manages the after school program hosted at a local elementary school. I was very nervous at first, but the kids have been great for the most part and I feel like I’ve been welcomed with open arms. I will be working from 2:30–6:30 on school days, so I have weekends and my mornings off. That may change, but for now it’s working out really well.

Friday I developed a nasty sinus infection, which has made my weekend slightly miserable. I hope to have surgery this year to open up my nasal passages. It’s a surgery both my parents have had done to help with their breathing, and thus far I’ve tried to manage it on my own. However, I keep getting sinus infections (literally the only reason I get sick) and think it’s finally time to get it over with.

This Week’s Blog Posts

Once again, I only posted once this week. This time it was a brand-spanking-new Novel Progress installment (A New WIP | Novel Progress). I truly missed writing these and was really happy to be able to announce my new novel project. Although I’ve been very slowly working on a version of Come, Beasties since 2017, I really felt that I might lose passion for the project if I didn’t set it aside for a little bit.

 What I Read

I’m still reading Rebel Spring! I truly think I would have been able to finish this book this weekend if my sinuses weren’t so aggravated. I find myself wanting to read it to find out what is going to happen next. And I am excited to finish up the book and finally move on to something else.

I’m planning on moving my “What I Read” updates to a separate weekly blog post as early as next Friday. I’ll be including more than just details about what I read but also my weekend TBRs, short reviews for my immediate reads, and maybe some blog posts/articles I found particularly noteworthy. I’m still trying to figure out the format, but I think it will be a fun post that will free up some space in my Week in Review posts.

 Blog Housekeeping

I was hoping to get a lot done this week. But in between my new job and my latest bout of sinus trouble, I didn’t get much more done beyond some errands, much needed room cleaning, and my workouts. Honestly, I don’t even feel all that bad about it.

I’m playing around with a new blog schedule for this fall that’d encourage me to experiment a bit more on the blog and post a little more regularly. It looks like a lot, but I expect that I won’t post every single day each week. Some weeks there may just be the minimal Week in Review, Novel Progress, and Weekend Reads posts.

Blog Schedule for Fall 2018

 Novel Progress

This Wednesday I finally posted a new writing update (A New WIP | Novel Progress) in which I talked about how I started a new project called Troubling a Star, for which I hope to complete the first draft by November 1, 2018, so I can participate in NaNoWriMo with an entirely new project. It’s ambitious, but I know it’s possible if I remain motivated!

Right now I’ve been plotting Troubling a Star. I decided what kind of story I wanted it to be, so from there I’ve been meticulous about cause-and-effect, because my favorite books are really well plotted in the sense that the characters are actively making decisions and having to react to the consequences of their actions. My tendency when I pants a novel is to write really passive protagonists, so my novel planning also consists of a lot of plot-work.

❧ ☙ END NOTE ☙ ❧

As it is the start of a new month, you may be wondering where my monthly Notes and Goals + TBR are. I’ve been debating whether or not I want to continue these features, specifically the Goals + TBR. I love setting goals, but I feel like they become a constraint when things in my life change rapidly. As I am still looking for a full-time job while working part-time, I feel like I need to keep things simple.

So I’ll be looking for different ways to blog about the things that matter to me in a way that fits best into my changing daily routine. I’ll share more on this soon!

Thank you for reading!
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Weekly Review | I Got A Part-Time Job!

Hello! Welcome to this week’s Weekly Review. What an exciting week it has been! On Monday I officially resumed the job search. I began saving job listings and applying for positions high and low. While I know I must continue to seek a full-time job, I knew that it made just as much sense to also apply for something that I could theoretically start doing right away.

My mom, ever eager to get me out of the house, sent me a screenshot of city jobs where we live. I applied for positions as a police dispatcher and a recreation leader at the community center and quickly (as in the next day) received a call for an interview for the recreation job!

I managed to keep a cool head about it, not willing to get my hopes up as I have in the past. I didn’t have high hopes about my odds as I don’t have a lot of direct experience working with children, but the interview went really well! I left happy that at the very least I had gotten some practice interviewing and made mental notes of things I would improve upon for next time.

To my complete surprise and delight, I got the call that I’d gotten the job Thursday and quickly went back in to fill out a background check and complete a drug test. I believe I will start training as soon as Monday!

Unlike last year after I settled into my part-time retail job, I do not intend to rest on my laurels. I need a full-time job if I ever hope to move out of my parents’ house and take care of my student debt. But this job should be really fun and something that makes it easier to get my next job.

This Week’s Blog Posts

IAmAnEnglishMajorLookingForWork

I only posted once this week, a long blog post (I Am An English Major Looking for Work) in which I tell the story of my job-seeking journey up to this point. It felt really good to open up about my insecurities. It’s embarrassing to be 25 and still never have had a proper full-time job, and I have felt a lot of shame when it comes to talking about it in my real life.

I think it was important to share what I want and that I don’t know what I’m doing. As long as it was my secret shame, I think it was going to continue being difficult putting myself out there to apply for jobs. I feel like I’ve told the universe what I want with confidence and hopefully it will soon provide given that I don’t give up trying.

 What I Read

rebelspring.jpg

I didn’t read very much this week, but that I read at all is feat worth celebrating! I’ve not been feeling reading so much lately, probably because of all the other stuff I’ve got going on. Hopefully I’ll break this funk soon, and reading will become the joy and comfort it was for me earlier this year.

I started Rebel Spring immediately after finishing Falling Kingdoms, but I only really read the first two chapters. So I basically had to start from the beginning when I picked it up again this week.

I can’t really say if I’m enjoying this story very much. I’m not significantly attached to any of the characters and am easily exasperated with all the melodrama, but it’s proving a fun and fast read. It’s actually making me really want to read the Lunar Chronicles again, I think because of the rotating perspectives and similar writing? I don’t know!

 Blog Housekeeping

Last week I shared a short to-do list of things I wanted to complete in the immediate future. I made a little progress there this week.

  1. I renamed my About page.
  2. I deleted my Resolutions of 2018 page because I don’t find it very relevant anymore.
  3. I added the category of Bookshelves to encompass all my future bookish posts and contain all my book-related static pages in the drop down menu, including: Book Reviews A–Z, Read in 2017, and Read in 2018.

Blog design-wise, I also began doing some research on how to use my drawing tablet to create my blog logo and new featured images. I also did some preliminary sketches of what I’d like to create, but I’m not sure how long it will take me to bring my visions to life. I feel like right now I will need to keep it simple. Then hopefully with time, I’ll be able to complete what I have in mind.

This week my main goal is to take a good new picture for my social media. I feel like I need to go somewhere where there’s good natural lighting, but I never go anywhere. I may have to force myself to go eat out at the nearest Panera Bread! Maybe I’ll take the MacBook Pro and write . . .

 Novel Progress

I actually have something to share about writing this week! I finally Skyped with my writing buddy again after about two weeks. She recently completed her most recent draft of her novel and was expressing her desire to plot her next book (she’s more naturally a pantser). I told her how I did it and that she could look at my most recent outlines.

I had meant to send her my final, completed one, but I was really stuck again and not sure what to do. I decided maybe she could help me figure out what the plot needs so I also sent her my specific questions so she could also know what kind of feedback I want. If this works, I’m going to be so annoyed I didn’t ask for her help sooner!

I’m still waiting on her feedback, but I started a new outline that includes more plot details. I also started a Scrivener project where I hope to start adding scenes that come to mind, even if they ultimately don’t fit into the main draft. I just want to start writing without any reserve and feel like Scrivener is the tool because I will be able to easily view and rearrange scenes when/if they become permanent.

❧ ☙ END NOTE ☙ ❧

There’s just one week of August left and there’s so much I hope to accomplish in that time. We’ll see how it goes, considering I may begin work training as early as Monday. I don’t know my hours yet, but I think the weekday shifts will be any combination of morning (6–9:30 a.m.) and afternoon (2:30–6 p.m.) shifts.

I’m really excited! It’s going to be great to be working with children during fall. It’s my favorite time of year. I think it’s going to be like being a teacher without all the boring lessons and all the fun activities instead. ^_^

Thank you for reading!
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Weekly Review | Tying Up Loose Ends

Hello! Welcome to this week’s Weekly Review. Although I didn’t post that much this week on the blog, I have been up to stuff behind the scenes, which is why I love this blog feature! I don’t have to disappear entirely off the face of the earth just because I didn’t do any polished stand-alone blog posts.

I had a hard time thinking about what I wanted to do this month. Part of that is just life crashing in to remind me the blog is not my life! It’s a tough reminder, but a good one too.

I don’t want to lie, I’m not sure how much you can expect to see of me for the rest of the month. I’m not even really blog hopping right now, which sucks because I love so many of your blogs. It’s just that I have a lot of other stuff on my mind right now that I don’t want to neglect. Hopefully by September, things will be back to a happier normal!

This Week’s Blog Posts

  1. August Goals + TBR ➹

 What I Read

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  1. How I Resist: Activism and Hope for the Next Generation (edited) by Maureen Johnson & Tim Federle |  | I found myself drawn to this book in July and finally finished it yesterday! I quite liked many of the stories, but I had trouble moving from one piece to the next quickly. I read this anthology about 4–5 pieces at a time. As a fairly well informed liberal-minded college graduate who practically lives on the internet, nothing in this book was too new. It was great to see so many different voices with similar arguments but in a variety of personal ways.
  2. Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes || I started this book last week for the #MakeMeRead It Read-A-Thon! I’ve actually annoyed I didn’t finish until Monday, because once I really got into the book it was not hard to keep reading. I just have trouble reading for more than an hour at a time sometimes. I had my reservations, but overall this was a fun read. I actually picked up the sequel right away, as I already had it, and I’m interested in binging that one ASAP!

• • • • • Currently Reading • • • • 

rebelspring.jpg

  1. Rebel Spring by Morgan Rhodes || Like I mentioned above, I started this one right away after finishing Falling Kingdoms. I feel like if I don’t get straight to this book, I never will, as I wasn’t too blown away by the first book but feel like the series still has potential.

 Blog Housekeeping

As I mentioned in my August Goals + TBR ➹, I have a short list of things I want to finish up by the end of the month. These things are the reason I’ve decided to take it easy with the blog posts (and even blog hopping).

My Blog To-Do List

  1. Create new blog header image (a.k.a. establish “site identity”)
  2. Create original base images for monthly memes & my weekly reviews
  3. Update blog navigation bar
  4. Update static pages
  5. Update social media selfies (my hair is literally past my shoulders now…)

 Novel Progress

I’ve not been working on my novel since vacation. Instead I’ve been getting all the other areas of my life in order! But I’ve been inspired recently by a new YouTube video from my favorite YouTube writer Katytastic, “WRITING CHAT | PLOTTING VS PANTSING,” so I thought I’d share!

I used to be more of a pantser and part of me has begun to wonder, maybe I should give pantsing a shot again? If the trade off is needing to revise more, I think I can handle that. It sounds fun . . .

Miscellaneous

  1. My dad had prostate surgery. Shortly before he went to Israel, we discovered he had prostate cancer. His doctor said it would be okay for him to put off surgery for a few months, so he went for his detail and returned in July to get his affairs in order leading up to the removal surgery. Everything went well, but the surgery took longer than anticipated because . . . I forget what exactly was stuck to what! Anyway he’s gonna take a while to return to normal, so it’s almost like my Mom & I have been home alone again!
  2. I’ve started something of a diet. I’ve been on a health journey this year, starting officially in June, I would say. It’s then I began a steady workout routine. One thing, that has always been my biggest struggle, is my diet. I almost want to say I have a binge eating disorder. I don’t know if that’s actually a thing, but I do know I’ve have a bad relationship to food since I was a child. When/if I see results from my diet, I may do a blog post about it. I kind of feel like I’ve lost weight, but I can’t look at a scale. It’s really triggering.
  3. I’m now all caught up on Sherlock. I first watched Sherlock when there were just the first two seasons available on Netflix. While I adored the first season, I think I only watched s03e01 to find out how before feeling like the show was becoming a bit absurd. You can’t really be multitasking when watching this show! It was fun watching a younger Benedict Cumberbatch after having finally become a real fan from watching Patrick Melrose this summer.
  4. I also watched To All the Boys I Loved Before this week on Netflix and loved it! Finally Netflix puts out a great movie for teens! I was never interested in reading the book, but the movie trailer really intrigued me so I gave the movie a go Friday night. I loved Lara Jean and could really relate to her fears and anxieties about letting people get close to her. And for once, I really liked the jock love interest! He was played so wonderfully. I loved the ending. This cute rom-com truly caught me off guard, and I’m not easily impressed!

❧ ☙ END NOTE ☙ ❧

With the two weeks of August left, I really want to get my blog to-do list done, write, and read. So that may mean I’m not posting as much this month. It is my hope that once I get my to-do list done, it will be easier to post more frequently and on time! Do know that I have some fun stuff planned! I did a lot of brain-storming pre-vacation and I’m still really excited about a lot of my post ideas. They may just not come until September.

At the very least, you can count on Novel Progress resuming this week and maybe a review of How I Resist. And these Weekly Reviews of course! I find them quite fun to write and a reminder that life is happening behind the blog ^_^

Thank you for reading!
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Weekly Review | A Big Thank You

Welcome to my inaugural Weekly Review. Since I’ve begun to post more regularly this month, I figure it’s about time I start doing some sort of weekly update post that makes it easy for anyone who’s interested to keep up with the goings on here at Betwined Reads!

This past week has been really productive all around! While I didn’t read that much, I completed some blog posts that have been well overdue, read, and even did some blog hopping this weekend.

Blogging has become one of my biggest priorities at this time of my life, so I just want to say a big THANK YOU to anyone who has decided to follow and who leaves comments! I love expressing myself through my blog and you all make it worth it. While my life and priorities may change sooner or later, I’m really excited to continue to share my bookish thoughts and lifestyle on Betwined Reads!

This Month’s Blog Posts (So Far)

  1. July Goals + TBR ➹
  2. Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter | ★★★★½
  3. The Follow Up to Blog Hopping in June
  4. The Unique Blogger Award | Blog Tag
  5. #MakeMeRead It Read-A-Thon 2018 Poll | Vote!  There’s still time to vote!
  6. Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko | ★★★★
  7. Some of My Favorite (Book) Bloggers
  8. Novel Progress #1: A Fresh Start
  9. Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene | ★★★½
  10. Blogger Aesthetics | Blog Tag

 Currently Reading

  1. How I Resist: Activism and Hope for the Next Generation (edited) by Maureen Johnson |  | This was originally going to be one of my first reads of August, but I found it was just calling to me. Since it is essentially an anthology, it has been really easy to read a few pieces here and there and then put it down. I’ve loved some pieces and others . . . not so much. Stay tuned for the review this Thursday (8/2)!
  2. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor|| I actually haven’t started this book but it is still on my immediate agenda and I may start it as early as tonight! It’s just such a large tome and I’m a little intimidated.

 Blog Housekeeping

  • I started a new weekly feature on this blog called Novel Progress. Here’s a link to the first post and you can expect more each Wednesday.
  • I updated my Book Reviews (A-Z) page with all the book reviews listed on this blog. I also have included titles that I hope to read this year, so you can check that out if you would like a previous of the reviews to come!

 Novel Progress

I decided to include this section on these weekly posts just in case I have something major happen story-wise that I neglect to talk about on Wednesdays. This morning I Skyped with my writing buddy and we did a lot of writing together.

I’ve set a new mini-deadline of Wednesday, August 1, 2018 to complete the plot summary-outline that I’ve been working out. I have had a lot of the big plot points of this story worked out for weeks, but things move around and change as I develop characters and their relationships. I’ll talk more about this process in a few weeks!

Miscellaneous

  1. I moved my furniture! One thing I doubt I’ve mentioned before here on this blog, but I love moving my furniture around. I won’t try to explain why, but the main reason this time is I almost kept hitting my head on my desk, which was beside my bed. Now it’s facing the window, which is nice for taking bookish pictures. It also makes me feel more awake if I’m stuck at my desk for a while.
  2. My dad returned from Israel this Friday! We spent all week getting the house together for him, cleaning and stockpiling his favorite foods that he can’t get in Israel. He’s lost a lot of weight, which is really good for his health. I think going to work overseas has been one of the best things to ever happen for him, and I can’t wait for him to go back! ^_^
  3. I started looking for jobs again! With my dad back I’ve really had the itch to move out of my parents’ house finally and start making money. The thing is I hate looking and applying for jobs. It’s really hard not knowing exactly what I want to do or more accurately what-I-want-to-do-and-can-make-money-from-doing. I was thinking I may start doing regular job search updates on the blog in case anyone is interested or in my same predicament.
  4. I’ve increased my work out routine. I’ve gradually been working on my fitness this year with modest success. I can’t weigh myself (as I find it really bad for my mental health), but I’ve noticed a difference in the mirror, in how I feel, and in how clothes fit. At this point, I’m working out at least once a day for an hour on the elliptical and doing about 30 minutes of weight-lifting in our garage each evening. I feel myself becoming stronger and I love it!

❧ ☙ END NOTE ☙ ❧

I hope you liked this post! I’ll welcome any feedback about anything you might like me to add or any recommendations of weekly updates that you love. Next week I will be on vacation, so next week’s Weekly Review may be a little late but hopefully not! I plan to get a lot of my blog posts done ahead of time this week so I’m able to relax and focus on blog hopping and comments while I’m away!

I have random little blog post in the works for tomorrow that some of you may find an useful resource, so I hope to see you then!

Thank you for reading!
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Playing Catch Up in May

I am a really big fan of Sara @ The Bibliophagist‘s weekly updates. They’re so clean and succinct, they must be an absolute treat for her to look back on when she wants to get a snapshot of a specific time in her life. I do not pretend to have nearly enough interesting things to share on my blog in a similar weekly format, however, I did want to record what I’ve been up to in the first half of this month right after sharing my May Goals + TBR.

A past version of myself would have considered this month (not even over) to be a fail, but I think this post will remind me that I didn’t just fall off the face of the earth and abandon all my goals this month. They’ve just been revised along the way…

 ICYMI, Here Are This Week’s Betwined Reads Posts

  1. Revisiting Harry Potter | Part I
  2. Revisiting Harry Potter | Part II

➴ What I’ve Read

  1. A Ring of Endless Light by Madeleine L’Engle (332 pages)
  2. Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix by J.K. Rowling (870 pages)
  3. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling (652 pages)
  4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling (759 pages)
  5. A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas (229 pages, I skipped the sneak peak)

Total pages read: 2,842!

➴ Currently Reading

  1. The Arm of the Starfish by Madeleine L’Engle
  2. The Democratic Surround by Fred Turner

➴ Recently Acquired

  1. A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas
  2. The Young Unicorns by Madeleine L’Engle
  3. Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene
  4. Akata Warrior by Nnedi Okorafor
  5. The Arm of the Starfish by Madeleine L’Engle
  6. Troubling a Star by Madeleine L’Engle

➴ What I’ve Watched

  1. In theaters: Black Panther (2018)
  2. In theaters: Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
  3. On Netflix: Love (Season 3)
  4. On HBO: Barry (Season 1)
  5. On HBO: Silicon Valley (Season 5)
  6. On HBO: Atomic Blonde (2017)
  7. On HBO: Snowden (2016)
  8. On HBO: Patrick Melrose (2018 mini-series, in progress)

Notes on Life from May 1–19

  1. Shopkicking with Mom. At the end of April, my Dad left for a work detail in Israel. As result, I’ve been spending more time with my mom. He used to go Shopkick with her, so I’ve been doing it now instead. I’ve been able to amass a lot of points very quickly with very little effort. The points on Shopkick amount to digital gift cards you can redeem at the check out in stores like Target or Sephora or online on Amazon. That’s why I’ve been able to buy books on Amazon this month! (Should I do a blog post about the app?)
  2. Un-hauling books at 2nd and Charles. There’s been a big box of books that I’ve been meaning to un-haul for a few years now and I finally decided to do it at 2nd and Charles. I’ve already taken some books to the bookstore chain in exchange for store credit (which is in higher monetary value than if I requested cash). I have about $25 in store credit now, which I hope to use soon before I forget I have it!
  3. Going to the movies. I figure a lot of people wouldn’t consider this too noteworthy, but I love going to the movies. Maybe it’s always been a special occasion because I’m not able to go all the time. But with my Dad out of town, I’ve been to the movies TWICE this month to see movies that I think are worth seeing on the big screen: Black Panther (2018) and Avengers: Infinity War (2018). They were both fantastic movies I can’t wait to see again (in the comfort of my own home).
  4. Experimenting with Neutrogena Build-A-Tan lotion. I’ve found it really hard to tan ever since I started using acne medication and have been interested in experimenting with a gradual tan lotion for a long time (thanks, Anna Saccone Joly!). I used it primarily on my legs and arms for two days and then stopped to see how long it lasted (less than a week). I don’t want to run out of it too quickly so I’m going to save it for special outings.
  5. Playing Hogwarts Mystery. I downloaded the app on my smart phone as soon as I started hearing about the game, even though most of the news around the new game was negative because of the energy limitations. I’ve always found it easy to get hooked on games like this that may seem boring game because “all you do is tap.” I was going to post an app review yesterday but I wasn’t fully happy with it so it may come next week instead.
  6. Working on my novel. I’ve been kicking my work into high gear in order to meet my self-imposed deadline. I’ve discovered a new way of plotting that I found helpful and I’ve also found a way to hold myself accountable each day for writing without a word count goal. I’ll share these techniques in coming weeks in specific writing blog posts!
  7. Reading the final three books of the Harry Potter series. I read the first four in April, but I had to set aside my quest to read other books I wanted to get to. It was kind of hard jumping back in. The last three are so long and so much more complicated than the first four. For my thoughts, you can now see the notes I made rereading the books (1–4 and 5–7) this time around. This journey took up a lot of the spare time I would’ve spent actually writing.
  8. Celebrating Mother’s Day 2018. For Mother’s Day this year without Dad, we kept it pretty low-key. I made a special breakfast for Mom and picked her up a card, which I got my brother to sign. I doodled in our dogs (her canine children). We set a pot roast in a crock pot and went to go see Avengers: Infinity War (2018) while it cooked. It was a calm, nice day.
  9. Celebrating my younger brother’s 21st birthday. My younger brother just turned 21 on the 15th. He came home after his finals so we’ve been celebrating early as he needed to return to school for his internship the morning of his actual birthday. He reads maybe 2–3 books a year and I got him one I thought he might like: The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. It’s an old favorite of mine and a safe choice as I now know he likes historical fiction.

➴ Coming Up on Betwined Reads

  1. Monday (5/21): Hogwarts Mystery ❄ | Betwined Tech
  2. Wednesday (5/23): Making a List of Possibilities | Writing Wednesdays
  3. Thursday (5/24): A Ring of Endless Light by Madeleine L’Engle (Book Review)

End Note

I hope you didn’t mind things getting a little more personal on Betwined Reads today. It’s always been a goal for this blog to capture the best of me and what I’d like to remember, so I’d like to do it more, although not always in this borrowed format. I’ll enjoy playing around with different format on weeks I feel that I have enough to say to fill a post.

Thank you for reading!
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