blogmas, blogtober

Happy Halloween! A Blogtober Recap

Happy Halloween & final day of Blogtober! I can’t believe I actually managed to accomplish such a challenge. To be honest, I thought I had too much personal things going on that would cause me to call off the entire thing. But since I had it all written & scheduled, I pushed forward & successfully made it through my first year of Blogtober. Here’s what I learned:

Writers Block Who?!

As a writer, I tend to give myself a hard time when I’m dealing with spouts of writer’s block. After this challenge, where I was able to come up with 31 pieces of content, I will no longer feel this way about myself. If I can successfully do this challenge, I can do anything. And if writer’s block does happen again, I now understand as writers, we are not machines & merely humans. Taking breaks are healthy & crucial to allow ourselves to ignite the inspiration again. And I’ve also come to the conclusion of determining a more a proper blogging schedule for the near future. I’ll talk about some of the blogging changes in another blog post coming soon.

Engaging is A Second Job

Replying back to comments & reading other people’s posts took up lots of time. One of the hardest parts of this challenge was being active on social media & engaging with other blogger’s work. There were definitely a few days I was more MIA than others. But it was a great reminder to know to have balance with your blogging life & real life. I learned to plan out at least one day where I spent time reading & replying back to comments. I found it important to support other bloggers even more this month whether they were participating in this challenge or not. But I made sure it wasn’t an everyday routine, as I knew this would lead to burnout.

I Got to Be More Creative

I was able to go outside my niche & experiment with other topics & writing styles. It was a great way to expand my craft. I mean, I even shared a poem with you all. LOL And I learned having a niche can be good but you shouldn’t limit yourself either. It’s your blog, so write what you enjoy. I hope to continue with this mindset in the future with my blog posts.

Blogging Became Fun Again

I returned with the mindset that blogging should be fun & a creative outlet. Before this challenge, I was in a rut with my blog. I didn’t have an interest in continuing it. But Blogtober sparked that love for writing in myself again. It was a reminder to myself that even when it comes to a passion, you can & will experience burn out at times. And it’s quite alright to make a few changes along the way.

Supporting Other Bloggers Feels Good

My favorite part of blogging is connecting with other writers in the community. Reading your Blogtober posts, sharing ideas & collaborating made it even more worth while. I’m always so impressed with the entire community & the amount of talented individuals we have here. Cheers to all of us!

Will I Do This Again?

It’s hard to say how I’ll be feeling a year from now & where I’ll be. But writing about spooky season & fall was something I really enjoyed. So, maybe I’ll do this again – maybe just not daily. LOL I also learned life can be pretty unpredictable & sometimes you need to re-evaluate your routine to combat changes along the way. This challenge solidified the fact quality is better than quantity. Perhaps in the future I won’t post daily & merely share a few Halloween blog posts & spend more time promoting the few I decide to share.

If you have the time though, I definitely recommend Blogtober to all bloggers. It’s a great way to feel connected to in the community & to express your writing skills. I’m so proud of myself, the bloggers who also participated & how far we’ve come. I managed to hit 1,500 subscribers on the blog this month which is quite a milestone in my book. I look forward to see this blogging family grow.

Happy Halloween everyone! 🎃

-B

blogtober, Minimalism, organization

15 Things You Can Do To Downsize Your Digital Space

I declutter a lot of spaces in my home, but one area I feel like we all tend to glance over is our digital space. Although it is not visibly taking up space, it is taking up memory storage & in our mind. So, I say we should all spend some time cleaning out our digital footprints for our storage & our sanity. Here are 15 Things You Can Do To Downsize Your Digital Space.

  1. Social Media Detoxes: Our lives are very heavily documented online in this day & age. We are constantly scrolling through our feeds, glancing at photo after photo, comparing ourselves to the people we follow. It can become rather exhausting keeping up with the expectations placed on us from these so called picture perfect lives. For our wellbeing, we MUST step away from social media & take breaks to focus on our lives off the phone screen. I personally have learned to take multiple breaks from my phone & accounts to enjoy the real world. Whether it’s saving a few hours in the evening or even taking month long hiatuses from social media, you must take care of your mental health & put the phone down as often as you can.

2. People You Follow on Social Media: My rule of thumb is if a person I follow doesn’t resonate with me or provide positivity, I don’t follow them. On my personal accounts especially, I don’t care the number of people I’m “friends” with on social media because it’s not a true indication of my friends in real life. I try to keep my friends lists to people I really see on a day to day basis now or people I truly want to keep in touch with. I don’t need to be friends with every acquaintance I went to highschool, middle or even elementary school. I don’t like how in today’s society you can’t run from your past as easily as you did back in the day. I feel like if I kept my friends from these stages of life & don’t see them on a regular basis, it keeps me sedentary in that time frame. I’d much rather move on to the next chapters of my lives & grow without these reminders of my past holding me back. I don’t even keep yearbooks anymore for this very reason.

3. Social Media Pages: Have you ever gotten that notification for your Facebook memories? Boy, that can be a cringefest, let me tell you. I recently went through & deleted old statuses, photos, & comments that were just so damn embarrassing. This includes going through old tweets & Instagram posts or photos on your phone. Whatever isn’t a good representation of you at this very moment, clean it up.

4. Photos: I used to be the queen of having 1,000 photos on my camera roll. A huge group of selfies just staying on there because I had to have the perfect shot. It might seem like a daunting task at first, but let me tell you, it’s well worth it in the end. I spent a few hours deleting screen shots of restaurant menus, thumbnails I made for my blog posts, duplicates & pictures I didn’t like anymore. I’m actually pretty old school when it comes to my photos. I still love printing them out & putting them in albums. But the ones I do store digitally, I have a few folders on my laptop organized by year, season, or event. But on my phone’s camera roll, I try to limit the number to about 100.

5. Unsubscribe: Whether it’s hundreds of spam emails, store subscriptions or notifications, my email’s inbox used to be flooded with them. I used to think with spam emails, all you had to do was delete them & they’d go away. Nope! You have to unsubscribe from those too. Not getting notifications from Ulta or Nordstrom also helps me from spontaneously shopping. Yay for sticking with my low buy year!

6. Delete Apps You Don‘t Use: My phone holds literally one page of apps. I hate having pages & pages of apps I don’t use on a regular basis. Don’t get me started on folders either. If I don’t use an app, I delete it. They say some apps, if left unused for a long period of time can cause problems to your phone anyway.

7. Music You Don’t Like: I used to download so much music. I don’t even think about doing that now with Spotify & Youtube. But I still have music on my Apple Music account I seriously need to just delete. I never use it! And it wastes so much space.

8. Declutter Files, Bookmarks & Documents: I’ve been out of college for a while now & I still have assignments from like 2010. I found a paper I wrote my sophomore year of highschool! Go through your documents & delete ones you will never reference to again. Some articles I wrote for the newspapers I kept & my theses from college. But it felt really good to delete the rest.

9. Delete Your Trash Can: Please remember to clear out your digital trash can on your laptop & email inbox. It’s something I always forget.

10. Clean up your Desktop & Wallpaper: Don’t keep a ton of folders on your laptop screen. It just looks messy. Whenever I see a laptop like this it makes me feel stressed out just looking at it. Also, change your wallpaper to something calm & minimalistic. It creates a workspace that will provide you some clarity.

11. Reevaluate What You Post: Your social media platform is like a digital newspaper. You have to ask yourself would you want this plastered on the front page? Even I have to stop myself from overly sharing. Especially with the blogging community, where I find it to be a job, I’ve now limited myself to how often I post on Instagram or Tweet. You have to think quality over quantity. Something I learned for Facebook, is if I have something to share, I wait until I have a quality profile picture to go along with it. I don’t like changing my profile picture that often, so it teaches me to post once or twice a month instead of weekly or even daily.

12. Set A Time For Use: By limiting a block of time where you are allowed to scroll through your phone, is crucial. Most of my “work” on social media occurs during the day. So in the evening, I try to block out a few hours where I can spend time with my boyfriend in the evening, read a book, eat dinner, or have some self-care “me time” before bed. The light from your phone keeps you awake anyway, so it’s best to take a break from it a few hours before sleep.

13. Turn off Notifications on Your Phone: This changed the game for me. My phone used to *ding* constantly with notifications. By turning this function off, I’m able to be more present & productive in my daily routine. I’m not distracted by messages constantly. I can view these things on my own time.

14. Organize Your Files: Do this as you go. When you are finished with a task, file it properly in a labeled folder. This helps you find things later easier & it’s far less overwhelming. I don’t keep hundreds of folders either. I have a blog folder, a few folders of photos, academic documents & my resume.

15. Your Phone: I could do a seperate post on what I keep on my phone. But basically I keep the bare minimum. I don’t keep games on my phone or excess apps. I have a page with Facebook, Messenger, Instagram & PicStitch (photo editing app). I don’t keep Twitter on my phone, I only check that on my laptop. And other apps I’ll add to my phone as I need them, but quickly delete once I’m done.

blogtober, blogtober, Uncategorized

Books To Put You in the Fall Mood

Look at me trying to be a book blogger over here! Blogtober makes you really think outside the box. But I am an avid reader especially this time of year. There’s just something about curling up with a good book, a warm beverage & watching the leaves fall off the trees from the window. So, today as it’s Sunday & a day of rest & relaxation for me usually, I wanted to share with you a few books that will for sure put you in the fall mood.

The Harry Potter Series

You might actually fall out of your chair when I tell you I’ve never read any of the Harry Potter books. In the past, I was never really interested to be honest & it never crossed my mind again until now. Recently, we had a Harry Potter movie marathon again & I can officially say I’m a fan. The movies are wonderful & I’ve seen those numerous times. So, I guess it’s time to finally sit down & read the books.

Thanks Snake GIF - Thanks Snake HarryPotter - Discover & Share GIFs

Midnight Sun

Thank you Netflix for bringing back a highschool favorite & allowing me to bask in the nostalgia. In highschool, I was obsessed with the Twilight series. I’m just a huge fan of vampires in general. I was 100% Team Edward & the fact this is his point of view is so interesting to me. And a lot of the soundtrack in the movies I plan on using for our wedding. But I have yet read the newest installment of the Twilight saga & feel like this is a perfect read for October.

The Silent Patient

This novel is a shocking psychological thriller about a woman’s act of violence against her husband. Not realizing or remembers what she has done, she goes to a therapist who becomes obsessed over her motives & uncovers a few mysteries behind her seemingly perfect life.

The Silent Patient” by Alex Michaelides :: Book Review

Hocus Pocus

If you are a fan of this Halloween classic film, you’ll love owning the story in novel form. It includes the original tale of the Sanderson Sisters along with a never before told sequel. The book would also be a great display piece on a shelf or coffee table during the Halloween season.

In a Dark Dark Woods

If you love mystery thrillers, I’d recommend you check this book out right here. This book was the start of my Ruth Ware obsession & this story doesn’t disappoint. It’s about a group of friends who venture off to a cabin in the woods for a weekend Bachelorette party that turns into a suspenseful who done it story. It’s one that kept me on the edge of my seat & it’s tough to decide which character you should trust more.

If It Bleeds

I know they say not to judge a book by it’s cover, but the look of this book screams spooky season. If it Bleeds is a series of 4 short stories all separately ponder the questions of friendship, evil, death, & fear. What I love about Stephen King’s novels, although there are scary elements to this collection & a lot of his work, his writing most of all, makes you ponder life itself.

The Cellar

Another favorite author of mine who was first discovered on Wattpad is Natasha Preston. Almost all of her books are spectacular in my opinion & some I’ve even read twice [ which is a rarity for me] . This one in particular is a suspenseful story of a teenage girl who wanders off during a party & is abducted by a man named “Clover”. He drags her into his cellar where she meets three other girls in her same plight. How will they escape?

Lock Every Door

This book just drew me in so early on & is such a page turner in my opinion. It gives off Hitchcock vibes for sure. The fact the story takes place in New York City is an added bonus. The foreshadowing & suspense of the writing is phenomenal. I just didn’t want to put the book down.

Be sure to check out my current fall favorites post for a few more book recommendations I didn’t mention here.

Have you checked out any of these books? Do you have any others you’d recommend?

B