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Monthly Reading Wrap Up: What I Read In April

I’ve decided to start a new book series on my blog where I share what I’ve read each month. And I hope to do a full yearly wrap up in December. Currently, I’ve read 12 books this year – April being the longest reading list of six books. If you are interested in keeping up with my book updates in real time, be sure you are following my bookstagram.

The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse

I actually started reading this one at the end of March & finished it the first week of April. What made me pick this book up was the author commendatory saying it was similar to Stephen Kings the Shining which I think was a bit of a stretch. I did love the atmosphere of this read & the trope of being snowed in a creepy sanatorium turned hotel. If you enjoy detective stories & “who done it’s”, I recommend this read, It’s the first of three, so I’m curious to know how the story continues in Pearse’s second book, The Retreat.

Let Me Go by Kate Bold

This is your PSA to check out some of the free novels provided on the book app. Although this story was rather predicable at the end, it kept my attention the entire time. It tells the story about a woman who’s past is coming to haunt her when she takes her husband to meet her family & childhood town.

13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do by Amy Morin

I love a good self help book. And although the majority of the book was rather repetitive & filled with psychological statistics, what really made me love this book was the introduction. The author shares her personal stories of lost & how she went through grief.

The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware

I’ve had this Ruth Ware novel on my shelves for over a year & I finally decided to read it. In the past, I tried reading it but wasn’t in the mood. I strongly believe it’s ok to read based on your mood. Don’t force yourself to finish a book. You can always come back to it later. This one was about a young girl who was trying to find her place in the world after losing her mother. She is surprisingly sent a mysterious letter informing her of a family inheritance. When she goes to find answers, she discovers so much more.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

One of the most hyped novels everywhere & I finally decided to read it. This is hands down my favorite read of 2022 so far. If you haven’t read this one yet & are questioning whether it’s worth the hype, well it is! It tells the story of Evelyn Hugo, a 50’s starlet actress who decides to tell her story to a new magazine writer & proposes she writes an entire novel about her life, her seven husbands & other secrets.

No Exit by Taylor Adams

I was going to wait until winter to read this one as it is set during a blizzard & 5 strangers are stranded together at a truck stop. I also wanted to compare the Hulu movie to the novel, which both are very gruesome & dark. I’m more of a fan of psychological thrillers & this was definitely out of my comfort zone.

Have you read any of these?

-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.