Goals and Plans

2019 Blogging Plans

My 2018/2019 are *almost* done I promise, there’s just one more after this. It’s mostly because I ran short on ideas – I was going to review some books, both of which I wasn’t into and decided to skip reviewing them.

I’m planning on moving off of here and on my own server/other hosted site. With Gutenberg coming out, I want to play with all the new custom blocks plugins and WP.com doesn’t really give me the level of freedom I want at a price point I’m willing to pay. I do WordPress development as my day job and was originally just interested in blogging without doing any development. Now, though, I think I’d like to create a theme and maybe some custom blocks. I’m looking at using my personal AWS account to do it, but I might just go with a regular hosting site. Decisions, decisions.

I still want to do book reviews, but I’m not going to force one if there’s not a book I want to review. Or if I just haven’t finished a book since the last review. I want to read a lot more sci-fi and fantasy books that are a lot longer than most of the books I read last year.

I’m not worried about visits, or views, or followers at the moment. I’m just really enjoying blogging. This will never make money or be my career or whatnot, so I don’t have to try to hit goals like that. Obviously, I love seeing that people are reading my posts and I hope people like reading them, but I don’t want to lose that enjoyment because I’m chasing a number. I admire bloggers who do, though. They put in work. This might change – I reserve the right to decide I care about numbers at some point in the future.

Anyway, I’m off. I have a cat to snuggle with.

~Sarah~

Beach · Life & Family

New Year’s Day 2019

Shane had to work on New Year’s Day, but was done at 5am, so he came and woke me up (as well as made me breakfast). He was called back in, but was able to get done and back to the apartment before 7, so I just hopped into his car and we headed to the beach. It’s the first time we’ve gone to see the sunrise at the beach and it was lovely. It really was the perfect start to 2019.

I figured out how to optimize the camera for sunrise after I started shooting, so some pictures are much nicer than others.

These were taken directly before the sun began to rise – we really had the beach mostly to ourselves. A lady in a beach chair, a few people scattered down the beach, and a man with a metal detector (he showed up later) were really all there were. It started out really foggy, but cleared up really nicely.

We ended up in front of a bunch of seagulls and they were really fun to photograph. Apparently I love to take pictures of birds. Which is weird, since I hate birds in general.

Shane brought the drone he got for Christmas and took some great pictures. My favorite one is above – a stylized panoramic view of the beach that his drone’s software compiled.

Here’s to 2019.

Reading · Top Ten Tuesday

Best Books I Read In 2018

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature currently run by That Artsy Reader Girl.

Happy New Year!

I hope that 2019 is the best year yet.

I realized while making this list that I read very few books I really loved in 2018. I can do better in 2019. Obviously not every book I read will be a winner, but I can definitely choose books that are more likely to be ones I really enjoy. Anyway, I’m fairly sick (thanks allergies), so I’m presenting this list without commentary.

  1. City of the Lost – Kelley Armstrong
  2. The Broken Girls – Simone St James
  3. The Queen’s Poisoner– Jeff Wheeler
  1. As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride – Cary Elwes
  2. Incendiary: The Psychiatrist, the Mad Bomber, and the Invention of Criminal Profiling – Michael Cannell
  3. Classic Style: Hand it Down, Dress it Up, Wear it Out – Kate Schelter
  4. The Bullet Journal Method – Ryder Carroll
  1. Obsidio – Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman
  2. About a Dog – Jenn McKinlay
  3. Before We Were Yours – Lisa Wingate

I hope you have an excellent first day of 2019.

Goals and Plans · Life & Family

2019 Goals

I’m doing “19 in 2019” this year. It is *exactly* what it sounds like – I have 19 goals to complete by the end of 2019. I know I already made a post on my 2019 reading resolutions, but to be honest, those are secondary goals. Completing the PopSugar Reading Challenge will not further my plan for world domination, now will it?

Goals and explanations below:

  1. Go minimal.
    • Am I a minimalist at heart? Almost certainly not. Does it seem like a good thing to explore? Sure. I need a good & thorough investigation of all my stuff anyway, despite moving every year for the past 5 years, I own too much stuff.
  2. Reorganize the apartment.
    • This one goes with number 1 up there. There needs to be a better way to organize the stuff we have.
  3. No buying books in 2019. I own 110+ books that I haven’t read. I have so many books {that I have read} that I have to store them in bins in the garage.
    • There are 3 books I *do* want to buy next year, so they don’t count.
    • This is probably the goal I’m most likely to not meet.
  4. Respond to my pen-pal letters within a week {two if there are extenuating circumstances – like a hurricane}.
  5. Lose the 20 pounds I gained in 2018. Preferably I’ll lose more, but those 20 need to get out of town for sure.
  6. Keep the blog up all year.
    • I’ve been enjoying it for the past little while and while I think I’ll be making changes, I don’t particularly want to stop.
  7. Read the entire Bible.
    • I’m a Christian and have never read the Bible front to back so that’s probably something I should remedy.
  8. Complete Couch to 5K….finally.
  9. Revamp my wardrobe.
    • This one has been hanging out on my ‘ get to it eventually’ list & I’d like to cross it off.
  10. Make at least 24 new recipes.
    • We’re going Paleo in January, so I’m pretty sure this one will be doable.
  11. Track our spending all year & develop a budget.
  12. Make real progress on my novel.
    • I’m not sure what this looks like yet, so it’ll most likely be updated along the way.
  13. Go tech-free for a weekend every quarter. From Friday after work through Sunday at bed. No phone, no tv, no internet.
    • Phone calls to moms don’t count.
  14. Make a list of things to do in Myrtle Beach and do them.
  15. Be more deliberate in the things that I decide to do.
    • I think most people could handle working on this from time to time.
  16. Pay off my credit card. Obviously.
  17. This one isn’t for sharing.
  18. Neither is this one, don’t be nosy.
  19. Nerp.

Recaps

2018 Recap

This is my end-of-year stat blog post. Mostly for future me, so sorry if you’re hoping for a thrill.

Coffee & Crows

  • First post: 10 Books to Pull You Out of a Reading Slump – August 21
  • Number of views {as of today}: 559
  • Number of visitors: 361
  • Number of posts: 60
  • Number of comments: 41
  • Favorite search term used to find the blog: “crows and coffee grounds”

Read

Watched

**Note: I didn’t watch many movies in 2018, and I’m not sure I even went to one in theaters. I stuck with Netflix titles here (except King of the Hill) because I didn’t track the movies I watched and Netflix’s watch history is the easiest to use.**

Travel

  • Washington DC for Code4Lib (Feb 2018)
    • I spoke here!
  • Atlanta, GA for Code4LibSE (?)
  • Myrtle Beach for Shane’s interview (April 2018)
    • Then we moved here.
  • Mountains of NC, to flee hurricane (Oct 2018)
  • Nashville, TN for WordCampUS (Dec 2018)
  • A bunch of trips to my old hometown to go to work on-site.

I didn’t know I would be making one of these, so I didn’t do a good job tracking anything but my reading. I guess that’ll change with the bullet journal, regular blogging, and keeping a journal.

Blogmas

Wrapping Blogmas Up

I did it! Plus 2 days, even. What’s funny is that I’m only taking one day off – tomorrow – before I post a few posts before 2019 begins on Tuesday. I’m not really taking it off, I’m just not posting anything.

I learned a few things, too. Like being 2 weeks ahead was incredibly helpful. Seriously, it was so nice to not have to worry about posting all the time. I’m not sure I can keep it up, but I’m thinking about having ‘fill-in’ posts sitting in the draft folder so I have some in reserve if I fall behind. Also, the best laid plans are sometimes foiled. I had planned a few different posts that didn’t make it. Book reviews, a gingerbread house post, a post about a visit to Christmas lights. I just didn’t do everything I wanted to do, so I couldn’t write about them. Finally, I’m glad I don’t have to post 365 days a year. 27 days is hard enough, a year is too much.

I will most certainly not start 2019 being 2 weeks ahead in posts. I may not ever do that again {until next December, anyway}, but I definitely want to have several posts scheduled ahead of time.

My plans for next December {that I’ll probably forget, to be honest} are to basically follow through on the things I want to do. I didn’t get to go to see any Christmas Lights, which is a bummer, so I definitely want to go to the nicest ones next year.

Anyway, I’m super proud of myself for following through on Blogmas. Can’t wait to start 2019!

~Sarah

Blogmas · Life & Family

Christmas Recap

I thought I would have a lot more pictures from Christmas, but I didn’t take a lot. We spent Christmas Eve Eve with my parents at their place for a pretty excellent dinner. My brothers weren’t able to be there so it was just the four of us. I also scored some sweet Delft pottery from my parents’ Dutch adventures. I think it was my grandparents’ that they bought on a trip, but I’m not actually sure.

Christmas Eve I woke up at 6 am to help my mother in law (and Shane, to be fair) get ready for the party. I made Bread Pudding with Bourbon sauce, which is apparently my ‘thing’ now. People showed up around 4ish and there were a bunch. Shane’s cousin has 4 kids plus several of my MIL’s siblings and attendant spouses as well as Shane’s brother and his kids. Oh, all 6 kids are very, very girly girls, by the way. Also loud. So loud.

But I had a great time – my oldest niece is a month from 13 and she’s hilarious and genuinely fun to be around. My 9 year old niece is a sweet bundle of love. The other 4 girls are a bunch of energy, too. The youngest is about a year old (but is developmentally younger) and I got to hang out with her a bit. I love a baby…that I can give back.

Good food, good company, and my MIL’s cat letting me pet him a bunch (he’s a bit standoffish) made for an excellent Christmas 2018. The few pictures I took are below – some are from my parents, some from Christmas Eve.

Blogmas · Top Ten Tuesday

Ten Books I Hope to Find Under the Tree!

Merry Christmas! This week’s topic from That Artsy Reader Girl is a list of the books I want to find under the tree today. I love this idea! I actually got a ton of the books I really really wanted from my Secret Santa done by The Broke and The Bookish blog, but I always have more on the list!

  1. Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter ~ Karin Slaughter is one of my favorite authors. This is the only novel of hers that I haven’t read yet. I’m on the Holds list for it, but it’s going to take for-ev-er.
  2. The Broken Girls by Simone St. James ~ This is the only book of Simone St. James I don’t own, and I loved it as much as the others so I’d like to own it as well.
  3. Force of Nature by Jane Harper ~ I liked the first Aaron Falk book, and would love to give the sequel a try.
  1. So Close to Being the Sh*t, Y’all Don’t Even Know by Retta ~ I follow Retta on Twitter, and loved her in Parks and Rec. I’m so interested in knowing more about her.
  2. The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers by Maxwell King ~ Mr Rogers is the last great American {television} hero…along with Bob Ross, obviously. He’s inspiring and I want to read about what he was like outside of the show.
  3. Becoming by Michelle Obama ~ Speaking of inspiration, who wouldn’t want to read Michelle Obama’s autobiography?
  1. Florence & Giles by John Harding ~ There’s nothing about this book that’s not right up my alley. I can’t wait to read it!
  2. The Book of Essie by Meghan Maclean Weir ~ An ultra-religious family with a pregnant but not married daughter? Sign me up.
  3. The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal ~ This seems like an interesting twist on the space race and apocalypse. I’m hooked.
  4. All Systems Red by Martha Wells ~ The series is called The Murderbot Diaries. How could I not want to read this?

~Sarah~

Blogmas · Life & Family

2018 Highlights

2018 was bananas. I don’t just mean the country falling down around us, or Earth continuing its slow decline because we’re killing it, or the general insanity that has come to what feels like the entire world. Though all of those things are also true. It’s just been a crazy year, personally. I won’t remember the insanity in the future {yyaaaayyy bad memory}, so I thought I’d write up a few of the ‘highlights’ of the year. I’m intentionally avoiding the worst things that happened this year, by the way. Keeping it positive, but adding in some things that were just unique. I’ll have a normal end-of-2018 post later on, with stats and such.

  1. I have a nephew! He’s a chubby little ball of love and I can’t handle how cute he is.
  2. Hurricane Florence has to take the {almost} top spot, right? It was our first evacuation.
    • Shane and I took our boys and fled to the mountains of North Carolina. We didn’t spend that long up there, but I really feel like the weekish we spent dealing with the Hurricane put me behind on my to-do list by several weeks. I never recovered, and have been playing catch up since September.
    • Thankfully, my area of MB was fairly unscathed. Our grocery stores weren’t stocked for awhile and the roads were so flooded that we couldn’t leave town for awhile, but that was really it. Other people had it much worse. I still wish I had volunteered to help out, but maybe next hurricane.
  3. Shane got a new job! He had like 3 or 4 interviews for it, then started the week after his last one.
  4. We moved to Myrtle Beach in a grand total of 4 weeks from the day of his last interview. He had his last interview on April 12th and my parents drove the UHaul down on May 12th.
    • I had to pack the old apartment up without a lot of help because Shane had to be here to work. He did help when he could.
    • Tau immediately got a UTI when we got here and has been a different {re: needy} cat ever since.
  5. We celebrated our 1st wedding anniversary by forgetting it, packing all day, then saying ‘Happy Anniversary’ exhaustedly on the couch. Classic us.
  6. We visited Washington, DC in February {I had a conference} and Nashville, TN {I had another conference} in December. Both were cold, rainy, awesome trips.
  7. We discovered Huntington Beach State Park which has quickly become one of our favorite places in MB.
    • Turns out I like taking pictures of birds.
  8. Driving back to spend a day at work means I have to drive up the night before and I have dodged the following:
    • A tornado. A real, touched down a few miles from my car tornado.
    • A thunderstorm complete with hail.
    • Two separate hurricanes.
  9. I gained 20 pounds since we moved here.
  10. Moving here has been a hard transition. We don’t know anyone, we’re in a place neither is very familiar with, and it’s really lonely sometimes. I do like that Shane and I get to spend a ton of time together.
  11. I started this blog and I’ve really enjoyed blogging!
Blogmas · Life & Family

Bullet Journaling

I recently re-discovered Bullet Journaling {thanks YouTube!}. I’m not going to go into details about what Bullet Journaling is – I liked to the main BuJo source above, and there are some YouTube channels linked below if you’re interested. This time around I decided that I didn’t need to immediately jump into the whole situation, I really needed to learn a lot more about the whole thing. So I watched a billion YouTube videos from: AmandaRachLee, Sunshine & Stationery, Plant Based Bride, and so many more.

These ladies are so incredibly talented and I am amazed by them. I kind of wish I had held off on watching them, to be honest, because it’s hard to not feel insecure about my abilities. I cannot draw, letter, do faux calligraphy, draw a straight line even with a ruler, etc. so that’s not really something I can incorporate into my BuJo. I will forever watch their videos though – there’s something soothing about watching people create spreads.

The other downside to watching so many videos is wanting to start big, with all the spreads, trackers, collections, etc etc etc and that’s not sustainable when you’re just starting out. There are so many different custom Collections (which is what the spreads are called) out there, and I want to use all of them. ALL OF THEM. Not feasible, though. I’m not even sure about habit trackers – is it really reasonable to go from tracking literally nothing to tracking 10 habits, plus whatever else I want to keep track of {cleaning, exercise, etc}? I realize you can scale that down to just a few habits, but you get the point.

I started reading a book by the creator {founder?} of bullet journaling – Ryder Carroll – called The Bullet Journal Method {imaginative, eh?}. It’s a really good book if you’re looking into the whole bullet journal thing. He talks a lot about why he created the method and why. I identify with a lot of what he writes. It’s very much like a lot of other ‘how to improve your life’ books in that it’s advertised as a cure all – this method will not just change your life, it will fix your life. It’s different in that he freely admits that you can take or leave whatever you need; the entire method is not necessary for it to fix your life.

I have hopes for the system – I’m scheming and plotting and planning for 2019 and this is going to be a part of all that. I spent a lot of 2018 apologizing for letting things drop, and I’m hoping that this can help me out with that. I’ll talk more about 2019 in a blog post later this month. You can see my bullet journal Pinterest board if you’re interested. It’s mostly cleaning trackers and meal planning spreads, though.

~Sarah~