Usually I would just share my top bullet journal theme ideas and my final layout in a blog post for the month, but since I am behind on my journal and participating in blogmas I figured I would show you today how I actually go about planning my bullet journal step-by-step. Because of how busy my life typically is these days, I want to keep my December bujo fairly minimal. However, I still want to have fun with it.
My journal is still a work in progress, but I figure it’s still worth showing. It’s not fair that all most of us only get to see is the finish product when so much work actually goes into the things most of the time. It can feel daunting to try and start, so hopefully this post demystifies the process.
For finished pictures of my bujo, follow my Instagram @theinkysaga. I will also try to share finished pictures here at some point during the month.
Step 1. Pick a Theme
Now this month, theme is less important to me than spread layout. I am not even sure if you could call what I decided to go with a theme. Essentially I wanted to draw pine cones, berries, and leafage; so I would call it a Christmas aesthetic? Wreath contents?
I took inspiration from __ on YouTube, but I made the specific wreath design my own.
Step 2. Find Layout Templates
This step was a challenge. I wanted something that would help me increase my productivity on personal projects each week and also be good for my work and housekeeping schedules and organization. I also did not want to spend too much time at the start of each week designing the weekly spreads, so I knew I wanted to use a dutch door of some kind.
Dutch doors are pages that are cut so that they are not full pages in your journal. Instead they work with the immediate next page to conceal and reveal content as desired. They are a lot of fun and I would like to use them more in the coming year. For this month’s bujo. I decided to use it rather simply for weekly spreads with the habit tracker, month-at-a-glance corner calendar, and a focus reminder square.
I learned about this layout from Boho Berry’s recent post on the Allistar Method, which is about…
Other than the weeklys, I just had a blog post planner page and a language studies tracker, which was another experiment for me. I know I want to prioritize relearning French over the next few months, so I want to quantify my learning in a way. I Googled “language learning trackers” and ended up on Pinterest, which is how I found a few different spreads.
Happy December and Happy Blogmas! It is true; I am participating in blogmas this year. Blogmas, as I understand it, is daily blogging leading up to the big day – Christmas Day! That means 25 consecutive days of daily blogging in a row this month. I have not written blog posts in advance, although I do hope to get ahead on weekends. I imagine there will be a healthy sprinkle of holiday posts and just general blogging and productivity-related content.
For your reference – as well as mine – I decided a schedule may help to know what kinds of posts you can expect this month.
/ Bullet Journaling /
I will share bullet journaling tips, resources, or favorites on Mondays this blogmas season that I find useful on my quest to find a spread that works for my kind of schedule and goals. This immediate Monday, I will share my December bullet journal and the process of developing the spread.
/ Technology for Bloggers /
There are so many applications and websites I have discovered through work research that I would like to share on this blog in the blogging context. I am most excited about these posts, because I believe they will end up setting a tone for the type of content I want to create in 2020.
/ Holiday Gift Ideas /
I have had a lot of trouble in the past thinking of gifts to purchase for family, friends, and acquaintances of all kinds. I feel like any time I Google gift guides, they are so unhelpful because they are so generic and/or tailored to sell products from a specific vendor or business. This year I look forward to sharing the ideas I generate for family, coworkers, and friends.
/ Side Hustles & Business /
Thursdays I will most likely share tidbits related to my freelancing journey, or any more specific things I feel more people should know who are interested in starting their own little business.
/ Freebies /
My original idea for blogmas was born out of a desire to share my digital creations with all of you lovely blog followers. I have been loving playing with my drawing tablet and BoxySVG, and I want to feel like my creations can have a life outside of my blog. As I am always so moody when I use Canva and see cute graphics I am unwilling to pay for, I decided to take inspiration from their library and put my own spin on things I like. If you have any ideas of things I could make, let me know in the comments and I will give you a shout out if your ideas inspire a freebie!
/ Holiday Spirit /
To keep the holiday spirit alive on the blog, I want to dedicate a day to sharing some holiday-themed blog content. Whether it be a holiday home tour, or recipes that make Christmas feel like Christmas in my family, or even lists of favorite holiday classics. I feel like last December passed me by all too quickly, and I really want to make the most of the holiday season this year.
/ Reading List /
I think Sundays will be the days where I will share more casual life updates with links to things I read each week that stayed on my mind, whether they be blog posts, news articles, thought pieces, research, or literature-based. I may also include movies or shows if they were particularly noteworthy.
Welcome back to The Inky Saga! It has been a hot minute since I posted on the blog, but I do not feel like going into any explanations today. I will save that for Friday. To start building up some blogging momentum this week ahead of October, I decided to end September with week’s worth of daily blog posts. Today specifically I decided to share the finalists on my list of October bujo theme ideas.
September started off strong, but I ultimately stopped keeping up with this month’s bullet journal after some loss of inspiration regarding the weekly spreads in particular. I have been working a lot, and thus do not have a lot of time left for personal projects. My bullet journal has generally been a place for me to record progress on my personal projects not related to work. As result, I had long columns for each day with nothing much to record. It’s disheartening to see such bare pages!
My priority this October is come up with new weekly spreads that suit my new life schedule. But before I can do any of that, I need to pick my October bujo theme! Since I wanted to start blogging again with a bang, here is a list of my top 5 October bujo theme ideas for the coming month. Enjoy!
If you would like to further investigate the sources of any of the images I share in this post, look for the watermarks either inserted by the creator or myself in a plum text color. WordPress will not let me hyperlink each individual image to its direct source because of how I formatted the images, but if you hover over the image you can see the creator’s social handle. Most creators can be found on Instagram.
I think there was only one image I could not source beyond WeHeartIt.com, but saw several variations of the same graphic. Let me know if anything was misattributed!
October BuJo Theme Ideas
Theme #1 Autumn Leaves
If I lived in a part of the country where autumn is better reflected in nature during September, I may have already utilized this theme for my September bujo. However in Texas, it still feels very like much like summer until autumn is technically well under way. There are so many amazing art styles I’ve seen execute the theme of autumnal leaves. Here are just a few that I think would make for a lovely October bujo theme.
Theme #2 Magic
A lot of people execute Harry Potter themes in September, because that is when Hogwarts is back in session. However, I never feel September is very magical. I did decide to bookmark some of these themes to revisit come October. While I loved Harry Potter as a child, I am not as obsessed as I once was with the world. I feel like I do not have a lot of originality to offer when it comes to this theme.
A magic could be informed by Halloween classics like Halloweentown or Hocus Pocus, which feature witches and broomsticks and potions galore. You could also take more general inspiration from other books or movies that feature those iconic depictions of witchcraft (e.g. cauldons, black cats, pointy hats).
Theme #3 Pumpkins
Pumpkins are one of the first things that came to my mind when I thought of October bujo themes. Funnily enough, they are one of the first things I ever I remember ever learning to draw with precision as a child. It would be so much fun to make such a simple subject and render it in forms as varied as this squash takes in real life. Here are some of the pieces that would inspire my own October bujo spread.
October BuJo Theme Pumpkin
October BuJo Theme Pumpkin Mood Tracker
October BuJo Theme Pumpkin Weekly Spread
Theme #4 Coffee
I found some coffee/tea bujo themes earlier this year and decided to bookmark them for the season in which it is most pleasing to drink them. There’s nothing more pleasant than being able to cosy up in the evening to read or write with a nice hot chai latte or mocha by my side. If not for October, I could see myself executing this theme in November for NaNoWriMo!
October BuJo Theme Coffee
October BuJo Theme Coffee Weekly Spread
October BuJo Theme Coffee Weekly Spread
Theme #5 Fairy Tales
The theme of fairy tales may seem pretty close to magic, but there’s a subtle differentiation in my mind. When I think of fairy tales I think of woods, woodland creatures, and monsters. It’s more folksy. Environment plays a bigger role in my mind, whereas magic in general is more associated with mystical items. Grimm’s fairy tales may provide some inspiration, but I was also thinking about The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo. The book has some amazing illustrations that could be fun to adapt into bujo spreads.
I could not find anything in my basic cursory searches on Instagram or Pinterest that emulate what I would like to go for. There are plenty of Alice in Wonderland or Disney-themed bujo themes I can find, but those do not appeal to me. Most likely I will need to pursue this theme when I have more time to plan it!
Final Thoughts on My October BuJo Theme
If you have already picked your October bujo theme, please feel free to share it in the comments down below! Usually I know which theme I will pick by the end of writing these posts. My final decision will probably come this weekend. I hate saving it for the last minute, but I have a few more things on my agenda before October. Nevertheless, it was really fun being able to talk bujo themes and share some amazing bujo artist work today!
I have been wanting to up my Instagram game for a long time, and September feels like the month it is actually going to happen. A few months ago I started working on a little calendar of Instagram post ideas for bujo artists based on what I was loving on Instagram at the moment from #studygram and #bujo accounts. Since I love what I came up with, I decided to share this calendar with all of you lovelies.
Some of these bujo artist prompts seem a little technologically challenging, even for me! But the point of this calendar was two-fold: to force me out of my comfort zone when it came to Instagram and to help me start posting more regularly. If any of you are interested in challenging yourselves, then I hope this calendar provides a handy jumping off point.
Feel free to remix these post ideas. I have a feeling I may need to do some rearranging myself, considering I am going pretty minimal this month. I designed this calendar with flexibility in mind. Naturally, I realize not every month starts on a Sunday. But if you are new regular posting, this calendar should be useful as a base-line for what you can considering posting!
A Month of Instagram Content for BuJo Artists
For those of you who may prefer these bujo artist post ideas in a list format, I see you. Here’s the list typed out:
Week 1 spread
Behind-the-scenes look at a work-in-progress
Inspiration behind the monthly spread theme
Time lapse of work-in-progress
Close-up look at favorite design
Shout out favorite accounts
Week 2 spread
Bujo in the wild (e.g. nature, park, garden)
Step-by-step doodle instruction
Review you bujo utensils (e.g. the journal, pens, stickers, etc.)
Habit/goal tracker progress report
Tips for newbies
Week 3 spread
Share ideas for next month
Promote favorite supplies
Show off your workspace
Flashback post of past bujo spreads
Share a “Meet the Artist” page
Share favorite artists/artwork
Week 4 spread
Show off calligraphy progress/skills
Bujo in the wild (e.g. cafe, pub, library)
Sketch in progress
Share a “My Perfect Day” page
Shout out up-and-coming accounts
Week 5 spread
Monthly favorites illustrated
I would welcome any more bujo artist post ideas for Instagram in the comments down below! I am still relatively new to the bujo community and will likely come up with a few more ideas myself after this post has gone live! In the future, it might also be fun to make more versions of this calendar for specific seasons or holidays, so I will have a new list of post ideas going soon anyways.
Also, let me know if you plan to use this calendar and drop your Instagram account handle below if you are a bujo artist. I would love to discover some new accounts.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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)? ^_^
This week I was tagged by Sara @ The Bibliophagist for The Wanderlust Tag! Since I’ve been working on new kinds of blog content this month, I was delighted to be tagged and have another reason for a more relaxed and casual blog post that allows new followers to learn a little more about me and my interest. While this blog tag is specific to books, but I think that book recommendations reveal a lot about a person who put the list together. So hopefully it’s a fun read for anyone who has decided to follow this blog!
I’m also using this post as an opportunity for an informal catch-up. I’ve been so busy this week with helping to get the house ready for the flyer pictures. Now I won’t know with much warning when I’ll be expected to pick up and leave for house viewings. I also met with my Red Cross supervisor this week to find out what is expected of me. I’m going to start preparing social media content for our region at the start of April, so I’ll be figuring out just how long it takes me to do that next week!
Thank you so much for your support this month with all my posts and blog changes! I’m so happy with everything and can’t wait to see what April brings. I plan to publish Monday, Wednesday, and Friday this week, so I’ll be working on these posts this weekend. Hopefully they don’t take too long, because this week I need to set up my April bujo spread!
What Is The Wanderlust Tag?
❝ If you have been following my little blog, you’ll also know that I’m all about the world building. I love how a good setting works to elevate the overall mood and tension. Nothing beats the draw of an eerie moorland, murky rivers, a wind-swept coastal town or even a ruthless, Tolkien-like fantasy world. [This blog tag is] a celebration of immersive settings that transport us to alternative realities ❞ – Alexandra @ Reading by Starlight
Mention the creator of the tag and link back to original post
Thank the blogger who tagged you
Answer the 10 questions below using any genre
Tag 5+ friends
If you find any of the books listed below fascinating I’ve included links to them on both Goodreads and Amazon. Just so you know, I am now an Amazon affiliate. If you do end up making a qualifying purchase through my one of my links I may make a small commission at no extra expense to you. ^_^
SECRETS AND LIES | A BOOK SET IN A SLEEPY SMALL TOWN
⟡Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro ⟡Pages: Paperback, 288 pages ⟡Published: August 31, 2010 by Vintage Books ⟡Genres: New Adult / Speculative ⟡Goodreads | Amazon
From the Booker Prize-winning author of The Remains of the Day and When We Were Orphans, comes an unforgettable edge-of-your-seat mystery that is at once heartbreakingly tender and morally courageous about what it means to be human.
Hailsham seems like a pleasant English boarding school, far from the influences of the city. Its students are well tended and supported, trained in art and literature, and become just the sort of people the world wants them to be. But, curiously, they are taught nothing of the outside world and are allowed little contact with it.
Within the grounds of Hailsham, Kathy grows from schoolgirl to young woman, but it’s only when she and her friends Ruth and Tommy leave the safe grounds of the school (as they always knew they would) that they realize the full truth of what Hailsham is.
Never Let Me Go breaks through the boundaries of the literary novel. It is a gripping mystery, a beautiful love story, and also a scathing critique of human arrogance and a moral examination of how we treat the vulnerable and different in our society. In exploring the themes of memory and the impact of the past, Ishiguro takes on the idea of a possible future to create his most moving and powerful book to date.
Never Let Me Go was one of my first forays into literary fiction as a high schooler. The movie came out around my junior year of high school, which is why this book was on my radar. It’s a beautifully sad tale about what it means to be human. I still remember by frustration and confusion about why they don’t make a run for it and why they aren’t more frustrated with their fates. They were so resigned to it.
SALT AND SAND | A BOOK WITH A BEACHSIDE COMMUNITY
⟡We Were Liars by E. Lockhart ⟡Pages: Paperback, 227 pages ⟡Published: May 13, 2014 by Hot Key Books ⟡Genres: Young Adult / Family Drama ⟡Goodreads | Amazon
We are the Liars.
We are beautiful, privileged and live a life of carefree luxury.
We are cracked and broken.
A story of love and romance.
A tale of tragedy.
Which are lies?
Which is truth?
This young adult novel is one of my inexplicable favorites. It gets me every time. I feel like it’s best to go into this book somewhat blind, so all I’ll say is it’s a great summertime read. The characters have summer vacations a dreamy private island and occasionally visit the nearby beachside town. In my head I picture where the cast of Gossip Girl go at the start of…Season 2 or 3?
HERE THERE BE DRAGONS | A BOOK WITH A VOYAGE ON THE HIGH SEAS
⟡Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo ⟡Pages: Hardcover, 462 pages ⟡Published: September 29, 2015 by Henry Holt and Company ⟡Genres: New Adult / Fantasy ⟡Goodreads | Amazon
Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone. . . .
A convict with a thirst for revenge
A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager
A runaway with a privileged past
A spy known as the Wraith
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes
Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.
This book is just…everything. I don’t have time to get into it! I’ll just say that a lot of important moments happen at sea and around docks. The gang travels by sea to get to their heist and then need to return the same way.
TREAD LIGHTLY | A BOOK SET DOWN A MURKY RIVER OR A JUNGLE
⟡City of the Beasts by Isabel Allende ⟡Pages: Paperback, 408 pages ⟡Published: April 27, 2004 by Rayo ⟡Genres: Young Adult / Contemporary ⟡Goodreads | Amazon
Fifteen-year-old Alexander Cold is about to join his fearless grandmother on the trip of a lifetime. An International Geographic expedition is headed to the dangerous, remote wilds of South America, on a mission to document the legendary Yeti of the Amazon known as the Beast.
But there are many secrets hidden in the unexplored wilderness, as Alex and his new friend Nadia soon discover. Drawing on the strength of their spirit guides, both young people are led on a thrilling and unforgettable journey to the ultimate discovery. . .
I reread this book for the first time since I was a teen last year (and reviewed it) and I did not remember how violent and dark this story was, considering its targeted towards young people. It’s very descriptive of the Amazon and the dangers it holds, so it’s a great read for anyone who enjoys high-stakes adventures.
FROZEN WASTES | A BOOK WITH A FROSTBITTEN ATMOSPHERE
⟡Troubling a Star by Madeleine L’Engle ⟡Pages: Paperback, 336 pages ⟡Published: September 2, 2008 by Square Fish ⟡Genres: Young Adult / Contemporary ⟡Goodreads | Amazon
The Austins have settled back into their beloved home in the country after more than a year away. Though they had all missed the predictability and security of life in Thornhill, Vicky Austin is discovering that slipping back into her old life isn’t easy. She’s been changed by life in New York City and her travels around the country while her old friends seem to have stayed the same. So Vicky finds herself spending time with a new friend, Serena Eddington—the great-aunt of a boy Vicky met over the summer.
Aunt Serena gives Vicky an incredible birthday gift—a month-long trip to Antarctica. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime. But Vicky is nervous. She’s never been away from her family before. Once she sets off though, she finds that’s the least of her worries. She receives threatening letters. She’s surrounded by suspicious characters. Vicky no longer knows who to trust. And she may not make it home alive.
This prompt was a little hard for me. I almost went with The Golden Compass, but then I remembered this childhood classic. It’s another that I reread last summer and it’s a highly underrated book from the author of A Wrinkle in Time and A Ring of Endless. It’s got a very strong message about environmental conservation woven into this tale of a girl who gets to go visit Antarctica on an educational trip and inadvertently gets mixed up in political intrigue and dangerous plots.
THE BOONIES | A BOOK WITH ROUGH OR ISOLATED TERRAIN
⟡TheHouse of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer ⟡Pages: Paperback, 380 pages ⟡Published: May 2004 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers ⟡Genres: Young Adult / Speculative ⟡Goodreads | Amazon
With undertones of vampires, Frankenstein, dragons’ hoards, and killing fields, Matt’s story turns out to be an inspiring tale of friendship, survival, hope, and transcendence. A must-read for teenage fantasy fans.
At his coming-of-age party, Matteo Alacrán asks El Patrón’s bodyguard, “How old am I?…I know I don’t have a birthday like humans, but I was born.”
“You were harvested,” Tam Lin reminds him. “You were grown in that poor cow for nine months and then you were cut out of her.”
To most people around him, Matt is not a boy, but a beast. A room full of chicken litter with roaches for friends and old chicken bones for toys is considered good enough for him. But for El Patrón, lord of a country called Opium—a strip of poppy fields lying between the U.S. and what was once called Mexico—Matt is a guarantee of eternal life. El Patrón loves Matt as he loves himself for Matt is himself. They share identical DNA.
Another really dark read for children, The House of the Scorpion becomes an thrilling adventure story about halfway through the book. The protagonist is treated horribly and unlike the characters of Never Let Me Go, does eventually make a run for it. There are dangerous characters to fend off and the terrain he must trek is not much friendlier.
HINTERLANDS AND COWBOYS | A BOOK WITH A WESTERN-ESQUE SETTING
⟡Holes by Louis Sachar ⟡Pages: Paperback, 233 pages ⟡Published: September 2, 2000 by Scholastic ⟡Genres: Young Adult / Folk Tales ⟡Goodreads | Amazon
Stanley tries to dig up the truth in this inventive and darkly humorous tale of crime and punishment—and redemption.
Stanley Yelnats is under a curse. A curse that began with his no-good-dirty-rotten- pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather and has since followed generations of Yelnats. Now Stanley has been unjustly sent to a boys’ detention center, Camp Green Lake, where the warden makes the boys “build character” by spending all day, every day, digging holes: five feet wide and five feet deep. It doesn’t take long for Stanley to realize there’s more than character improvement going on at Camp Green Lake. The boys are digging holes because the warden is looking for something. Stanley tries to dig up the truth in this inventive and darkly humorous tale of crime and punishment—and redemption.
I’ve not read any westerns beyond one that was a little overrated (highly promoted) a few years ago now. I forget what it was called. Anyway, Holes eventually came to mind. The movie came out the year before I started middle school, so I remember that more clearly than I do the book, but this book involves history of the west where the story’s setting is located. There are a collection of interwoven tales that link the protagonist, antagonists, and Camp Green Lake to the past during the time of trains and robbers.
LOOK LIVELY | A BOOK ACROSS SWEEPING DESERT SANDS
⟡Cress by Marissa Meyer ⟡Pages: Paperback, 550 pages ⟡Published: January 27, 2015 by Square Fish ⟡Genres: Young Adult / Science Fiction / Fantasy ⟡Goodreads | Amazon
In this third book in the Lunar Chronicles, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, now with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.
Their best hope lies with Cress, a girl imprisoned on a satellite since childhood who’s only ever had her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker. Unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.
When a daring rescue of Cress goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a higher price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing prevent her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only hope the world has.
Cress is the third book in the Lunar Chronicles and probably my favorite. I love Cress best of all and her story is the saddest and loneliest. To travel with her on her adventures once she escapes her prison is so much fun. A lot of this book is set in the desert where she and Captain Thorne crash land on Earth.
WILD AND UNTAMED | A BOOK SET IN THE HEART OF THE WOODS
⟡Uprooted by Naomi Novik ⟡Pages: Paperback, 438 pages ⟡Published: March 1, 2016 by Del Rey ⟡Genres: New Adult / Fantasy ⟡Goodreads | Amazon
“Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley. We hear them sometimes, from travelers passing through. They talk as though we were doing human sacrifice, and he were a real dragon. Of course that’s not true: he may be a wizard and immortal, but he’s still a man, and our fathers would band together and kill him if he wanted to eat one of us every ten years. He protects us against the Wood, and we’re grateful, but not that grateful.”
Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.
Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.
But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose.
This book feels like its a few different books all cut and pasted together to make one. It’s a really beautiful and pretty fun read that ends up in a place I really didn’t expect it to go. The corrupt Wood is one of the scariest settings/entities that I’ve ever read. I had some nightmares after reading this book, which I’ve never really had happen with a book before.
WILDEST DREAMS | A WHIMSICAL BOOK SHROUDED IN MAGIC
⟡Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor ⟡Pages: Paperback, 349 pages ⟡Published: July 11, 2017 by Speak ⟡Genres: Young Adult / Fantasy ⟡Goodreads | Amazon
Sunny Nwazue lives in Nigeria, but she was born in New York City. Her features are West African, but she’s albino. She’s a terrific athlete, but can’t go out into the sun to play soccer. There seems to be no place where she fits in. And then she discovers something amazing—she is a “free agent” with latent magical power. And she has a lot of catching up to do.
Soon she’s part of a quartet of magic students, studying the visible and invisible, learning to change reality. But just as she’s finding her footing, Sunny and her friends are asked by the magical authorities to help track down a career criminal who knows magic, too. Will their training be enough to help them against a threat whose powers greatly outnumber theirs?
I’ve never read another book that makes me feel the way I did when I first read Harry Potter. That desire to enter the world and experience its magic personally. I know a lot of authors have attempted it, but it’s never really been the same. I love the worldbuilding in Akata Witch so much because it feels so much more real than Harry Potter. It’s set in Africa, which read a lot to me like places from my actual childhood in the more rural hispanic parts of the US. It feels less like of an ivory tower than Hogwarts, more attainable.
I’ve seen this tag making the rounds, so I don’t remember who all has already done it! I’m just tagging the people I’ve most recently tagged who I think might enjoy it if they haven’t already. Of course, if this sounds like something you’d like to and you haven’t been tagged yet then consider yourself personally tagged by me ^_^
Well this post took the better part of my Saturday morning and afternoon, with breaks of course! I’m about to call it a day and go start Part 2 of The OA on Netflix! I’ve been anticipating it all month and then I go and forget about it this week as soon as it debuts. Typical.
The last week of March will be dedicated to bullet journal content as I move into my new bullet journal and set it up for April. On that note, some of you may have gotten a sneak preview this week of the post that will go up on Monday! Sorry about that! It was not quite finished, and I forgot to move it after failing to complete it last weekend. There’s a lot more I want to add to it, so that it is as amazing and helpful as possible for newbies to journaling.
This week I was nominated by Siobhan @ Novelties for the Mystery Blogger Award! Since I’ve been working on new kinds of blog content this month, I was delighted to be tagged and have a reason for a more relaxed blog post that would allow new followers to get to know more about me.
On an unrelated note, I decided to start going by my real name again on this blog and my other socials because I want to be able to share stuff I write on here with future employers and don’t want there to be any confusion. Sorry for any confusion I’ve caused for you guys!
What Is the Mystery Blogger Award?
It’s an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging, and they do it with so much love and passion. – Okoto Enigma
Put the award logo/image on your blog
List the rules
Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog
Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well
Tell your readers 3 things about yourself
You have to nominate 10 – 20 people
Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog
Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify)
Share a link to your best post(s)
Three Facts about Me
Purple used to be my favorite color and now I can’t stand the thought of wearing it. It brings back negative memories of 8th/9th grade.
I used to be able to tan really dark, but now I just freckle permanently if I don’t wear sunscreen. It’s really annoying.
I’m in the currently in process of moving, so life is a little all over the place at the moment! More info about this move to come…
1. Which character would you name your child (human, furbrat, or other) after?
By saying these names, I feel like I’m giving them away! But so be it, there’s plenty of names out there. For a daughter, I really love the name Ruth after the character from the film Fried Green Tomatoes (1991). For a son, I like Remus after Remus Lupin from Harry Potter. For dogs I like Gordo (Lizzie Maguire), Randall (This is Us), and Bosley (Bill Murray in Charlie’s Angels).
2. If you could do anything in the world, what would it be?
I would become a business woman with enough capital and connections to make stuff happen.
3. What is your new favorite book or TV show?
New as in discovered within the last year? I’ve recently been thinking about Sharp Objects, which is a mini-series starring Amy Adams that came out last summer. It was amazing. The female characters were so compelling and the music so evocative. I feel like I might start it up again. I can’t think of a new favorite book beyond The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson, which was a satisfying follow-up to Truly Devious.
4. What is the latest accomplishment you’re proud of?
What a lovely question. I’m really pleased about my new position as a Red Crossdigital volunteer! I had to interview for it, and it was a win I needed right now to be honest. It’ll be doing work that I’m proud of and that will give me great experience for the kind of thing I want to do professionally.
5. What book are you looking forward to reading?
Right now, I really want to get to King of Scarsby Leigh Bardugo! I’ve been trying to finish upDisrupt You by Jay Samit first so I could mark it off my TBR.
Bonus: If you could be transported into any TV show, what would it be?
I would love to be transported into the 1950s New York City of which The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel paints such a rosy picture. (I think I’ve answered this question before and had the same exact answer!)
Do you share your blog with people you know in your real life?
What are your ultimate blog goals?
Do you see yourself blogging when you’re 50?
Who is your role model, fictional or otherwise?
What are some books do you think are underrated?
Bonus: You find out the world ends tomorrow; what do you do?
I hope you enjoy this light post! I’ve been super busy this week between producing the posts I did, planning future content, and working on job-related stuff. I’ve come to the realization that I really need to scale back on the blog stuff at the moment, so I’m probably going to aim for something of a blog schedule (M/W/F) for the next few weeks so that I can get on top of other responsibilities. I’ll try to use Twitter and Instagram for more personal updates, so check those out if you’d like!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.