Lifestyle

August WrapUp: Birthdays, Books & Getting My Life Together

I can’t believe we are wrapping up another month. I’m another year older, having turned 31 on the 9th & I’ve been trying my best to live more in the moment & enjoy the simpler things. This summer has been a time of healing & rest due to the sudden burst of grief after my wedding. Planning a wedding right after my dad passed away was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. They say not to do anything huge the first year of grief, but I went a head & went full force into wedding planning mode. So, now I’ve been playing catch up & focusing on my own wellbeing these last few months. But I’ve also managed to incorporate tons of fun before the summer comes to a close. I want to thank LifeWithDeanna for inspiring me to write this blog post & start my own version of monthly wrap ups. If you haven’t checked out her content / blog please give her posts a read! She’s been one of my favorite bloggers at the moment!

What’s Been Fun This Month…

Towards the end of July, Todd & I went to a lantern festival in the city. Although it’s not an August highlight – I wanted to mention it because it was a wonderful experience that I highly recommend. When you arrive – you are given your own lantern to decorate. You are encouraged to draw any future wishes, past remembrances or anything that defines you. Once the sun went down – hundreds of us let our lit lanterns go into the water & watch them float. Be sure to check out my reel on the lantern festival here for a more in-depth look.

For my birthday, Todd & I ventured to St. Michaels on the Eastern Shore the weekend before & ate lunch by the water. It was a rather hot one thanks to the continuous heat wave, but we cooled down by walking through some of the town shops & I took a slice of Smith Island cake to go.

And on my actual birthday, we met up with my mom & brother for dinner at Glory Days [ they have the best burger sliders ] & I got a free ice cream sundae. It was a much needed low key celebration & I was so glad we could all celebrate together as a family. Although, I’ve been spending lots of “me time” this summer for healing – I’ve chosen to lean on these two for most of my support along with my husband of course. I’ve learned it’s better to have a small group of supporters instead of tons.

On a separate note, if you are interested – I can share my thoughts on grief & how the process has been from my personal experience in a blog post.

My favorite birthday gift hands down were these custom book jackets from the brand Nerdy Ink. We all know how much I love the A Court of Thorns & Roses series! And these new covers are so beautiful on my new bookshelf.

For those who aren’t familiar with the state of Maryland – we are known for our steamed crabs [ especially during the summer ]. We enjoyed a weekend pool party / crab feast. It was fun because we literally knew one person [ but were able to meet tons of new people ]. We all sat around a long table, picked crabs & told the funniest stories. We ended the evening with a bonfire & roasting marshmallows.

Towards the end of the month, we celebrated my brother’s birthday in Annapolis. I surprised him with a Better Call Saul law school sweatshirt. All three of us – my husband, my brother & I are huge fans of that show & are so sad season 6 was their final season. Have you watched it?

find this on etsy

What I’ve Been Loving…

It’s been a long time coming but my books are no longer stored on the floor of my office. I finally have a proper bookshelf & I’m obsessed with it! Here it is >> my bookshelf . It’s already filled with tons of books [ many that still need to be read ]. I’m especially looking forward to starting the Throne of Glass series soon! * update – I have started Throne of Glass & am 20 chapters in! – fantasy is officially my favorite genre *

I’ve been creating more of a capsule wardrobe & decluttering / replacing a few clothing pieces. I updated my shorts with a few pairs of Levi 501’s & they are the best fitting shorts I’ve ever owned. I bought two pairs of blue denim as well as a white pair. If you are interested in seeing my fall capsule wardrobe in a blog post, let me know in the comments.

What I’ve Been Reading…

After finishing ACOTAR at the end of July – I was in a bit of a reading slump until I discovered a series my husband recommended which is the Red Rising trilogy. I talked about the first book in my July reading wrap up.

This month I read:

Golden Son by Pierce Brown: the second book to the Red Rising trilogy. This one is my favorite because of the epic ending! Wow – I couldn’t stop reading this fast paced sci fi action novel. Highly recommend.

Morning Star by Pierce Brown: the final book to the Red Rising trilogy. Epic action just like the other two, great character building & a shocking ending.

Book Lovers by Emily Henry: I have a bit of an unpopular opinion about this book. I don’t think I’m the biggest fan of this author. Although I did enjoy People We Meet on Vacation as a lighthearted summer read – I just don’t enjoy her writing & find the story lines to be a bit cheesy. Sorry not sorry.
Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid: if she writes it, I’m going to read it. I loved this summer read based in one of my favorite places – Malibu, California. It tells the story of the Riva Family & the past POV of their parents. I loved following the character growth between each kid, their backstories & how the past & present can repeat itself. This has gotten me excited to read TJR’s newest release, Carrie Soto Is Back which is dropping this month.
Flock by Kate Stewart: I’ve seen the Ravenhood series all over social media & I basically went in blind. I had no idea what this story even was about & quite honestly – I’m still a little confused. But I’ve heard the second book Exodus is way better. This is a nice summer filler read with tons of spice. 🌶🌶🌶🌶 So, I’m not mad about that at all. If you are into morally grey love triangles, this book is for you.
The Golden Couple by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen: I’ve had this book on my shelves for months & I was in the mood for a thriller since fall is approaching. And honestly, this was an extreme let down for me. It started out strong but immediately became anticlimactic & predictable. And the ending just fell flat. I’m wondering if some of their other books are better?

What I’ve Been Watching…

Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin: I’ve actually never seen Pretty Little Liars before this spin off [ don’t come for me ]. But I’m loving this spooky mystery that airs every Thursday on HBO Max.

Love Island UK: My husband & I loved watching the newest season of Love Island UK. I was a huge Ekin Su fan. The US has their own version, but the accents and “banter” of this version drew us in. So entertaining! Hulu has all the seasons available. Which past season should we watch next? Because after following these couples for 60 episodes, I’m missing them like crazy!

A Discovery of Witches: I believe this series is based on a book trilogy. We decided to watch this after doing a bit of research on Reddit & I’m obsessed with it! Any show that has witches, vampires & demons- I’m all for it! And I felt like it would be perfect with spooky season approaching.

What I’ve Accomplished…

Mind Beauty Simplicity’s views have skyrocketed this month after publishing a collaboration with a few other minimalist creators in the community. If you haven’t checked out that post yet, click here. In this collaboration, content creators who live the less is more lifestyle shared their reason for living this way. It’s a fascinating read & hope it inspires more people to downsize their lives a little more. I’m excited to announce this post was mentioned in Courtney Carver’s weekend favorites series on her blog. Be sure to check that post out here.

I’ve also been into creating reels on Instagram. As we know, the algorithm on this platform is rather finicky at times. But I’ve managed to reach almost 50k views on some of them! I’ve been trying to change up my mindset with this platform & just having fun with it connecting with other creators. All in all, I don’t expect tons of growth with this platform, but it’s something I want to maintain to built friendships with other minimalists & creative souls in the community.

What I Want To Work On…

I want to work on being more present & limit my screen time even more than I already do. I’ve been reading a lot more to combat that screen time which I share in this blog post here. My husband & I both will spend a few hours every evening reading together. We turn on a vibey screen saver on Youtube [ like rain or a cozy cabin ] & just enjoy each other’s company. I also hope to read a few more books in the months ahead with the weather getting colder.

I also want to practice having more gratitude & not let other people’s opinions affect my behavior. I’ve been embracing the power of my alone time & enjoying my own company. It’s been the best form of healing during this phase in my life. Although I enjoy time with others – I also need time to recharge & prioritize myself. In the past – I would always put other people’s needs before my own & I want to change that some moving forward.

What I’m Looking Forward To…

I’m obviously looking forward to the Halloween season & honestly – the cooler weather! I’m so tired of this heat. I’ve purchased a few fall decor items already & can’t wait to decorate our house soon!

We do plan to go to the beach for one more weekend [ Labor Day weekend ] before the summer ends to celebrate our 8 year dating anniversary. We’ve only been to our local beach town once this summer [ which is quite different for us ]. And with this heat, the only place to really go to cool off is the beach in my opinion!

We also have a few weddings to attend this fall which is exciting – one in Virginia & another in Pennsylvania. 2022 has been the year for weddings! If you haven’t already, be sure to check out my wedding series.

I hope you had an amazing month in August. Feel free to share what you’ve been up to & what you’ve been loving lately in the comments. Here’s to a new month of possibilities! Let me know if you enjoyed this style of blog post & if I should continue it.

-B

blogtober

Blogtober 101: The Do’s & Dont’s + Post Ideas

It’s that time of year again where bloggers take part in the daily 31 post challenge in October & honestly – the sooner you prepare the better. I personally, will not be participating this year but you can always reminisce on last year’s posts. Since many bloggers take part in this posting challenge, I wanted to share some insight to Blogtober including a few do’s & dont’s as well as post ideas.

What Is Blogtober?

During the month of October, bloggers in the community share a blog post every single day for 31 days. Seems like a lot right? It definitely is! Although I successfully completed the challenge last year, it was a lot of work & took early preparation. Typically, bloggers will post Halloween or fall related content [ but you can of course post whatever you’d like ]. And if you are someone who finds the idea of posting daily for a month to be rather stressful, there are no REAL rules. You can create a schedule that works best for you. This year, I plan to post once or twice a week in October, sharing Halloween & fall content as well as my usual intentional living posts. Last year, I shared a recap on my first Blogtober, so be sure to check that out if you haven’t already.

Now, that you’ve decided to participate in this challenge, the preparation is where the real fun [ or stress ] begins. Here are a few suggestions to make your Blogtober experience more of a breeze.

Prepare Early As Possible

Last year, I started writing fall content in July! In reality, 31 posts [ if you fully commit ] is a lot of content to write! I didn’t want to feel overwhelmed & stressed. The only issue I had with this was I would sometimes re-read a post a month later & not be satisfied with the idea. So, keep that in mind as well. You don’t want to write all of those posts months in advance & then want to start from scratch. Be sure the ideas you have will fit your future self. Anytime I had an idea, I would write them down & then schedule it accordingly. This year, I’ll be re-sharing a few old posts that needed edited & revamped. So, if you do run out of ideas, you can always look back at old posts for inspiration.

Guest Post & Collaborate With Other Bloggers

To help lessen the load, why not connect with other bloggers in the community. Open the floor up to collaboration or guest posts. This is a great way for other bloggers to expand their audience as well as give your typing hands a break. One of my favorite posts I did last year was share other blogger’s ghost stories / encounters. Whether you believe in the unthinkable or not, it was tons of fun to read through these stories & befriend other bloggers in the community. If say, a blogger has traveled to Salem Mass. & you haven’t yet – you can have them share their experience in a spooky travel guide. It’s always interesting to see other people’s takes on the season / holiday [ especially from those living all around the world ].

Get Outside Your Niche

Blogtober is the perfect time of year to get outside your comfort zone / niche. It’s a great time to experiment on topics you usually wouldn’t write about & to just have fun with it! I personally love sharing Halloween themed tags or share my favorite Halloween movies / tv shows as well as my general love for the spooky holiday. I love branching out from the usual decluttering posts, & sharing more about myself. It’s a wonderful way to connect more with your audience & allow them to see the writer behind the blog more authentically.

Have Fun!

Most importantly, these challenges are supposed to be fun & a way to connect with the writing community. So, don’t stress too much on being perfect or posting daily. My favorite part of Blogtober is meeting new bloggers & widening my audience. Be sure to support those who are participating by commenting on their posts, sharing them on social media & even advertising them in a future blog post. Let me know in the comments if you’ll be participating in Blogtober this year!

Post Ideas….

Before I go, I wanted to share a few blog post ideas to get you started. Also, be sure to check out last year’s 31 Blogtober Blog Posts for even more ideas! Also, if you have topics to share, be sure to include them in the comments below.

Local Haunted Spots & Their Origin Stories

Spookiest Places From All Over The World

The Blogtober Tag

Top Halloween Themed Movies / TV Shows in 2022

Halloween Costumes Throughout The Years

Halloween Through The Decades: Share Your Childhood Memories

Monster Mash Bash: Fall / Halloween Recipes

Share A Personal Ghost / Scary Story

Couple, Family or Single Costume Ideas

Why You Love / Dislike Halloween

If you decide to choose any of the topics suggested above, be sure to link back to this post!

-B

blogging, blogtober

How Bloggers Should Handle Being Unfollowed

Rejection sucks! I get it! But I also think it’s something that comes naturally during the course of life. People are going to enter your life & set up camp while others slowly go away with time. Although this can happen in everyday occurrences, I wanted to focus on how it feels to be unfollowed as a blogger. The blogging community is a place filled with endless support & encouragement. We all bring unique qualities through our writing & personalities. With there being 7 billion people on this planet though, not everyone is going to like you.

They Just Don’t Vibe With Your Content

Every blogger has some niche whether it be extremely broad like lifestyle or narrowed in like minimalism. Usually when you start blogging & determine your niche, you flock to that particular audience. Occasionally, you’ll find others who are more neutral & may or may not have strong interests or opinions at all with what you write. I personally, don’t get offended by an unfollow or being unsubscribed to because I wouldn’t want people who don’t enjoy my content to stay. I want my followers to be genuine.

You Shouldn’t Obsess Over The Numbers

I understand it’s important to set goals. In any type of work we are always striving to better ourselves. As bloggers, our stats are some of the only ways to monitor that. I’m saying we shouldn’t get so hung up over the numbers that it causes us to completely give up. For instance, I could have deleted my blogging Instagram after losing 500 followers in a week one time. But instead, I just stepped away & returned with a new mindset of enjoying the loyal followers I do have.

Blogging Is Supposed to Be Fun

Whether you are a full time blogger or do this as a side hustle, at one point you simply found blogging as something fun to do. Go back to that mindset when you are feeling overwhelmed or looking at stats too hard. I for one, fell back in love with blogging by participating in Blogtober. I’ve gotten to share useful informative content along with ones that are just for fun. It will always be this healthy distraction for myself above anything else.

-B