A 2017 Retrospective (plus some reading goals)

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Happy 2018, everyone.

I hope that you had a good New Year. I spent New Year’s eve with my family, celebrating my Nana’s birthday, and then my husband and I spent New Year’s day driving back home from Portland.

The New Year is always a great time to look back on the year behind you and think about what you’ve accomplished and what your new goals are. I did something a little different this year and thought about it on the Winter Solstice too, which I really enjoyed. It was almost like I was more prepared to make goals on New Years because I’d thought about my accomplishments and what I needed to work on for the next year already. I did something unheard of for me, which is set only one Resolution–to do yoga every day. We’re only 5 days in of course, but so far I’ve met that goal, which is pretty much a first for me.

2017 was an interesting year–in blogging terms it doesn’t even feel over yet because I still have a lot to say about different things that happened throughout the year, but it was full of ups and downs and lots of work. Not to mention, I sort of dropped the ball on blogging.

I didn’t quite meet my book goal–I ended up being five books short of finishing the Popsugar reading challenge–but I did meet my Goodreads goal of 75 books and even exceeded it by a couple of books.

This year I’m not participating in any sort of formal reading challenge (besides the Goodreads one). I have a couple challenges that I’ve entered into with friends, and I will be posting about those. I’d like to do 12 of these, one for each month, so if there’s a particular book (or two) you think I should read, or a challenge you’d like me to write about, please let me know in the comments!

The first challenge is sort of a book club challenge of sorts–my friend and I are reading Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott first and then Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe by the end of January. These classics have been sitting on our shelves for a while, and we figure if we don’t read them together we’ll never be motivated enough to read them at all.

The other challenge was given to me by a different friend. She thought it would be interesting to read about the same event or period of history from two different, opposing perspectives. If anyone has a suggestion for this, please let me know. I’m thinking that the US Civil War might be the easiest historical period for me to find (though it is certainly not my favorite…).

My blogging plan for the year is to do a lot more movie/book posts. I have a lot of fun writing those. I’m also going to share some travel/DIY/recipes–whatever comes to mind.

Is there something you’d like to see on the blog? Have a reading challenge for me? Let me know in the comments.

My Reading Challenge for 2017

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So last year’s challenge did not go well. And not because I didn’t read a lot of books. I just sort of lost my motivation somewhere along the way.

I think the real problem had something to do with the nature of the challenge itself. My goal was to read more of the books that were on my shelves that had been accumulating for years, but the problem was they weren’t all winners. With some books, this was obvious right away, and I’d quit the book and throw it in the donation pile. But other books weren’t exactly bad, they just weren’t all that good. And reading a lot of meh books at the beginning of the year (combined with a lot of wedding-related excitement) was just not good for my reading goals.

Though there were some definite highlights, they were few and far between.

So this year, I still want to get through some of the books on my shelves (I have every intention of finishing last year’s A-Z challenge), but I want to look at my reading goal a little differently so that the completion of the goal is a creative process that takes way more forethought than just examining my bookshelves and choosing a book that starts with the given letter. I really liked the idea of fitting my reading to certain criteria over a set list of books, so I chose the Popsugar challenge as this year’s reading challenge. I like that there’s a lot of things on there I don’t normally read on the list, and there’s a lot of diverse criteria. We’ll see how it goes.

 

I’ll be blogging about the books I read, and if you have any suggestions for some of the more difficult/weird stuff on this list I would love them! For instance, does anyone know of some good steampunk writers? Or a book set around a non-Christmas holiday? Let me know in the comments! Also let me know what your reading challenge looks like for the year!

Guest Blogging on the Bridechilla Podcast Blog

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I haven’t mentioned much in the way of wedding planning stuff on the blog, but recently I’ve become a guest blogger on the Bridechilla Podcast blog. About once a month I’ll be writing a wedding planning related post, sharing my journey and experiences and hopefully some tips for other people getting married. I love talking about weddings (though planning one is much harder than I thought it would be), and I’m sure I’ll be posting related things here as well.

I’ll be linking here whenever a new post goes up. My first one is all about ways that you can focus your wedding vision and stay true to your goals.

And if you’re planning a wedding (or just like thinking about weddings), you should definitely listen to the Bridechilla podcast*, which is all about keeping your sanity while planning a wedding. The host, Aleisha, is amazing–she’s funny and down-to-earth and has the most amazing Australian accent. It’s been such an amazing resource for me, and it’s kept me from losing my mind.

 

*Please be aware that the podcast is labeled explicit for language.

The Encouraging Thunder Award

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Dimple of enthralling dimple kindly nominated me for this award. You should really check out her blog. She puts such wonderful enthusiasm and positivity into the world.

These awards are really lovely, as they give you the chance to give another blogger a pat on the back and it creates a nice community of bloggers.

How it works:

  • thank your nominator
  • display the logo
  • talk about your purpose in blogging
  • nominate others

My purpose in blogging:

As I’ve probably mentioned elsewhere on this blog, my purpose in blogging is to share the things around me that give me joy and that I think are beautiful. I have widespread interests, and it isn’t often that you can find ways to talk about all your interests, but that is exactly what this blog allows me to do. I share crafts, recipes, book reviews, travel posts, and anything else that makes me happy. I like to talk about things going on in my area that I’ve participated in and generally write about things that interest me and that I hope interest others.

My other purpose in blogging is to bring my typically solitary writing day into a more public sphere. I get to interact with an audience and write material with the purpose of publishing it so that many people can read it. Whether one person reads a post or many more read it, blogging allows me to think about my writing in a different way as well as encouraging me to write with regularity.

My nominees (forgive me if you’ve already been nominated or if you don’t participate in awards. Just know that I think you’re doing awesome things):

Rosema of A Reading Writer

Lucy of Things Lucy Reads

Urooj of Urooj Reads

Syc of The Lit Mermaid