I Took a Week Off of Social Media

If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you may already know that for the last full week of June, I took a break from social media. After watching Ariel Bissett’s video, my friend Olivia and I decided to take some time away from the online world for our mental health.

First, I think social media is a really powerful tool and it has so many benefits. I love social media, and I would never be able to give it up, BUT I think taking occasional breaks is important, too!

How did it go?

  • Truthfully, it was hard.
  • I chose the week I did because it happened to be the week I was going on a mini vacation to the Pocono Mountains- my parents rented a house on the lake so that we would get a break from the monotony of sitting home for months. I wanted to be present during this time and really enjoy my surroundings instead of being glued to my phone. Plus, I figured I would be a bit busier than normal, so it would be easier to get my mind off of my phone.
  • Day one, I woke up and felt super anxious because I almost always get DMs overnight, and I felt bad that I wouldn’t be able to answer the people who had replied to my story or asked me a question. I had a nagging feeling all morning. However, that was the same day we were leaving for the trip, so I was pretty busy with packing, grocery shopping, etc. After those initial few hours, it actually got a lot easier!
  • The second day was pretty good, and I figured the challenge would only get easier from there.
  • Boy was I wrong.
  • On the third day, I caved. accidentally. I was checking to make sure my blog post went up as scheduled, and I clicked on the link to my Instagram unintentionally. I checked my notifications, read my DMs, and left the app.
  • The next two days were alright after that… until I caved again on the sixth day. I checked my Twitter notifications and scrolled through my feed for a couple of minutes. Nobody’s perfect, okay?
  • I spent the last day off of social media until about 8:30 pm. I decided that was when I was going to make my return because there were some things I wanted to check online.

What did I learn?

  • I can get a lot done when I don’t spend 9+ hours on my phone a day.
  • Twitter can really bring my mood down.
  • I am much happier when I spend more time outside.
  • Social media is a much better tool when I use it consciously instead of spending hours mindlessly scrolling.
  • Leaving the house without bringing your phone? Freeing.

What did I accomplish?

  • I read 3 books and got over halfway through another!
  • I went kayaking and bike riding and paintballing and running. So. Much. Fun. And I didn’t feel the need to document it at all. I really lived in the moment.
  • I did…some…writing. It wasn’t as much writing as I had hoped, but I was still able to write a couple of chapters.
  • I worked on some blog/freelance related stuff and it felt SO. GOOD. It was stuff I had been putting off for quite a while.
  • I caught up with some of my best friends, and I reached out to others who I haven’t talked to in a while.
  • My screen time went from an average of nine hours a day to FOUR- i used my phone for reading e-books and audiobooks & taking pictures!

Final Thoughts:

I think this was a super important experience and I’m glad that I attempted it. I wasn’t perfect at following the rules, but I accomplished most of what I wanted to.

Going forward, I am definitely going to be much more intentional about my time online. I also want to take social media breaks more often (maybe once a week or so?).

Have you ever taken a social media break? What did you think of it and would you do it again?

If not, have you ever considered it? Let’s chat about it in the comments because I’m so interested in it now!

Quarterly Favorites #2 April-June 2020

Hello everyone! Today I am back with the second installment of my Quarterly Favorites series! If you haven’t seen the first one, feel free to do so before reading this one.

If I’m being honest, it was a bit hard to come up with some favorites this time around. I feel like I haven’t really been doing or trying anything new because of Covid-19. But, I did still want to share this post, despite it being a bit shorter than the last one!

Movies & TV Shows:

  • All American: This show is about a Black teen football player at Crenshaw High, Spencer, who gets asked to join the team at Beverly Hills. His whole life gets turned around and now he has to navigate a new world with new friends. I am currently on the second season but I ADORED the first season, and I am so excited to finish it.
  • The Morning Show: This is an Apple TV original show produced by Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carell (and staring Jennifer Aniston). I recently got a new laptop, and it came with a subscription to Apple TV. I have heard a lot about this show, and now I finally had the chance to watch it. It was PHENOMENAL and I can’t wait for the next season! It is a must watch- so gripping, so intense. I finished it in a matter of days.
  • Just Mercy: I haven’t been watching a lot of movies recently, but I saw that this one had become available for free online (and it still is for the rest of June, I believe!!), so I watched it. It was such a good movie.
  • 13th: I’m sure you’ve seen many people talking about this documentary lately, with all of the discussion of the BLM movement. It is so important, and it really does help to educate on modern racism.

Blog Posts I Loved:

  • Emme talked about her bad reading habits, all of which I am guilty of, too. It is good to know that I’m not the only one who does these, but I also liked reading this to see what things I should work on changing.
  • Caitlin tried guessing the synopses of different 2020 releases, and this was such a fun post. I had so much fun reading it and trying to guess along with her!
  • Kristin tier-ranked all of the YA novels she’s read, and I love watching tier-ranking videos on Booktube, so it was cool to see it translated to blogging. She’s also done a post ranking her favorite books, which I definitely want to do for myself, too!
  • Holly has written a few reviews in the form of letters recently, but my favorite is her review of The Starless Sea! She summed up my feelings so well. These are such unique reviews, and I really love reading them.
  • Tiffany hosts a book club with Alexandra, and I highly recommend checking it out! I am going to continue to join them during the months that I can, but the discussion in the Facebook group afterwards was so interesting!
  • Sofii shared a list of 30 LGBTQ+ book releases of 2020 in honor of pride month! I definitely found some new books to add to my TBR, so please check out this list!
  • Chloe talked about going without her phone during isolation, and it was so eye-opening! While you guys are reading this, I’m actually taking a week off of social media (any of my posts or Tweets have been pre-scheduled!). It is so important to unplug and spend time offline sometimes.
  • Marie wrote about a topic that was being discussed on Twitter recently, which is the way book bloggers are treated in relation to other ‘book influencers.’ It’s no secret that bloggers are often overlooked and undervalued, despite being basically the foundation of book promotion. This was a really interesting read, and I agreed with everything written!

My Posts I Loved:

  • I shared a list of books by Black authors that I want to read, and I want to re-share this post, in case you missed it. Do not stop supporting the BLM movement, and continue to read diversely every single month!
  • My testing book recipes post was so much fun to make, and I definitely want to do it again in the future! Let me know if you guys would be interested in that.

Other:

  • Cork-boards: I recently bought some cork-boards to hang up in my room, and I absolutely love the way they look. Mostly, I love that I can change out the pictures I hang on them anytime I want, so I can constantly create new vision boards for myself. I like to use them for inspiration!
  • Save the Cat! Writes a Novel: This book helped me out SO MUCH when I started outlining a new WIP this month. I am definitely going to be using it for a long time. If you are a writer, I highly recommend giving this method a try if you struggle with plot and structure.
  • Elta MD Sunscreen: I wear sunscreen everyday on my face. But now, especially that it is getting super sunny and hot, it is even more important. This is my favorite facial sunscreen ever, and it has been a life changer, honestly. It’s a bit on the pricier side, but it was recommended by my dermatologist, and I really do love it.
  • Watermelon Wonder Kombucha: I’ve always loved kombucha, and I’ve had this one a few times before. But recently, I have been drinking it so often. It is incredible and I never want to drink any other flavor.
  • Apple Watch: I got an Apple watch during this quarter of the year as well, and it was such a great purchase. I think it’s only worth buying if you are into fitness. Personally, I only use it to track my runs and workouts. It does have some other good features, but I don’t really use them much. As far as fitness tracking, I do think it works really well, and I love it!

What are some of your favorites from the past three months? Leave a comment letting me know :)

Q&A #3 ft. film adaptations & my most recommended book!

Hello! It has been over a year since I last did a Q&A post, so I thought I would do another one today :) Be sure to follow me on Instagram & Twitter if you want to know when I am doing more posts like these because that is where I ask for questions!

Let’s just get straight into it!

If you could be any literary character, who would you be?

I love this question!! I thought long and hard about this, and my two answers for this are Evie from The Diviners series or Mirabel from The Starless Sea! I think both of these worlds are so fun and I would love to be able to explore them more! Also, Evie is a diviner and that is so cool!! I would love to have any of the abilities that the different diviners have, so I wouldn’t necessarily have to be Evie, but just one of the diviners! I chose Mirabel from The Starless Sea because she’s a painter who can create different doors that lead to this incredible, hidden world of stories! Imagine having access to it all times??? That would be incredible.

What prompted you to start your own blog?

So I’m actually coming up on my five year blog anniversary (in September), which is surreal to me. I initially started this blog as a fashion and beauty focused one because that is what I thought I was most passionate about as a young high schooler. However, I soon started finding booktubers and other book bloggers online, and I slowly starting posting more and more about books until it took over my life (jk…but also not really).

I started a blog because I needed a creative outlet. I was always writing in notebooks but never had anywhere to share it. I also wanted a place where I can share my passions with others and find a community! Blogging brought me that and I haven’t looked away since!

Books you would like to see adapted as films/tv shows?

This was actually hard to choose because a lot of books that I think would make good tv shows are already in the works or have been made before! I think any of Jenn Bennett’s books could make a cute teen rom-com on Netflix, though. I would also love to see a Hulu adaptation of The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin!

daisy jones and the six

Book you recommend the most to people?

There are like 5 books that I recommend to people very frequently on here, but if I think solely about a book that I recommend the most in my life outside of blogging, it would probably Daisy Jones and the Six! I just think it’s such a great book and is pretty universal. It would appeal to a wide variety of people, so it’s my go-to recommendation!

Music that you’re into at the moment?

If I’m being honest, I haven’t really been listening to any new music for months now! I’ve just been playing some of my favorites by Ariana Grande, Harry Styles, Billie Eilish, and some others! Nothing too interesting or special right now. I would love to know what music you’ve all been loving, though, because I am desperately in need of a new playlist! Feel free to comment some recs below :)

bookstore aesthetic

*Images from Pinterest, not my own

If you could do anything without failing, what would you do?

I would open up a bookstore & smoothie shop in a small, rural town. I would love to own a bookstore one day, but the instability of the current indie bookstore market is terrifying to me. SUPPORT YOUR INDEPENDENT BOOKSTORES PLEASE!

let's chat

Bookish Tattoos I Want to Get / Blogtober Day 21

I don’t have any tattoos. Yet. But there are so many that I want. Not necessarily all bookish, but there are quite a few bookish ones I’m interested in.

Pinterest is my best friend when it comes to finding tattoos, so that’s where all of these pictures are from. They are not my own!

Book

I would love a tattoo with a book incorporated directly on it in some way. These are some of my favorite examples:

Symbols

I think tattoos of symbols like “&” and quotation marks are adorable. I’m a fan of simple, minimalistic tattoos, so this is one I’m most likely to get.

book tattoo

Erin Morgenstern Related

I fell in love with Erin Morgenstern’s writing this year. I would love to get a tattoo dedicated to either The Night Circus or The Starless Sea. I would either get a symbol of some kind to represent the books (like a bee, a key, and a sword for The Starless Sea) or a direct quote from one of them.

erin morgenstern tattoo

Writer

As both a reader and a writer, I would like to represent both in some way. I like the idea of a typewriter. It’s pretty, but it’s simple. I also love the quote pictured below. I think it would be cool to get it tattooed!

let's chat

I have tons of tattoo ideas, but I’ll most likely only end up getting one or two during my lifetime. Do you have any tattoos? If so, what are they? If not, do you want to get some?

Jessica

A Look Back on My First Semester of College // Blogmas Day 17

Tomorrow is my last final for my first semester of college, and then I will be going home for the winter season! I can not wait for a break, finals KILLED ME.

But, today I want to reflect on how my first semester went, and how I feel about where I am right now :)

So, the first week was sort of rough for me. I actually wrote a post about my first week and how unhappy I was. I think the change was just bigger than I expected it to be, combined with the heat and not having air conditioning, and getting a little sick towards the end made me feel really cranky and out of place. I missed home and the familiarity of seeing my friends everyday. I didn’t feel like I belonged anywhere, and I just wanted to move onto the part where I have close friends.

Luckily, things have definitely looked up for me! I joined a few clubs on campus, got to know some amazing people, and I enjoyed all of my classes.

I definitely learned so much this semester- not just school wise, but also about myself.

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Some highs from the past few months:

  • Living on my own and having independence
  • Read my poetry out loud for an audience for the first time ever
  • Got straight As on my midterms!
  • (I think) I got straight As on my finals (grade aren’t out yet)
  • Made a ton of new friends
  • Had enough time to participate in NaNo this year (unsuccessfully, but still)
  • Went to a book signing
  • Made so many new online connections

The last two weeks have been finals, so I’ve been working really hard, and it’s been stressful.

But, I am super pleased with how my first semester of college went, and I can’t wait to see where it takes me in the future :)

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2019 Life Goals // Blogmas Day 16

I recently did a post where I talked about my reading goals for the year, but I wanted to include some of my “life-related” goals, too!

I am a super goal-oriented person, so setting to-do lists and making bucket lists is my absolute favorite thing ever. So, here are the things I hope I accomplish this year :)

Save $1k

I am the absolute worst at saving money. I made myself the goal of saving 1k in my bank account between September and December, but that just didn’t happen. I work a job at school which means I get paid minimum wage, and I can only work a certain number of hours a week. But, I plan on getting a job over summer break outside of school again so that I can save more money, and I’m just going to be more conscious about it in general.

Finish my poetry manuscript

I’ve had a name and theme idea for a poetry collection for months, and I eventually want to publish it. So, this year I want to work on drafting together all of the poems, organizing, editing, and then finalizing the details of it so that I can eventually send them off to a publisher or self-publish it!

Finish the first draft of my novel

I don’t plan on publishing an actual novel for a while, I want my debut as a novelist to be something I truly love. However, I want to finish the first draft of my current WIP, even though I know it will never be published. It’s great practice though, and would make me so happy!

End my second semester with straight As

I have been working really hard this year so far so earn the grades I have, and I want to keep this streak up next semester! School is my number one priority right now, and I want to do well.

Get a summer job/internship

Like I said earlier, I want to get a job over the summer to save up some extra $$. It really doesn’t matter where it is at this point, I just want to find something!

Hit 1k followers on here

I am so proud of this little blog I started when I was a little sophomore. It’s been through a lot of ups, downs, and changes, but I love where I am today. Numbers are not something I focus on heavily, but it would be nice to reach this number!

Hit 500 followers on my poetry instagram

Alongside the last goal, I also want to hit 500 followers on my poetry account because poetry is something I want to take more seriously this year. The reason for setting this number is just because it will hold me more accountable when it comes to posting. I want to make sure I consistently post on the account.

Go on a road trip with friends

I’ve always wanted to go on a road trip with my friends, but we’ve never been able to actually do it. It would be so much fun, and hopefully I get to do it in the future!

Let me know what your goals are in the comments below :) See you tomorrow!

NaNoWriMo Tracking & Reward System | Week 1 Update

Hello everyone! Today marks one week of NaNoWriMo! I’m happy to say that I’m actually surviving, and I’m on target with my word count. I didn’t know if I would even make it this far, so I’m extremely proud of myself and all that I’ve accomplished. I’m past 10k words at this point! That is so crazy to me.

I didn’t realize that all I needed to get myself to write was a bit of a push. I wish that I had forced myself to participate in NaNo in the past, like I did this year. Maybe I could have written multiple novels by now.

I think what’s really helping me is my tracking and reward system! If you didn’t see my last post, you can check it out here. I mentioned the Lightspeed Planner, which I have been using since the start of the month. I am absolutely loving it! I would highly recommend checking it out and possible buying one for yourself.

Here is what a blank page looks like:

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How I use it for NaNo:

Each day looks slightly different, but I always write my word count goal in either the “must do” or the “should do” spot because it is a huge priority for me. I don’t plan on ever putting it in the “could do” category unless I absolutely have more important things taking up my time. If it’s in the “should do” category, it’s because I have a big homework assignment that I need to complete before I can write. Otherwise, it always goes in the “must do.”

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As for the notes section, I use that to track my actual progress. I write down how many words I started the day with, then I write how many I ended with. On the right side, I put down the total words written that day. If I am on target for NaNo, I give myself a star sticker for that day. I really want to keep that streak going and have a star every single day, so this is another motivating factor. The planner also has a little pocket in the back, so I can keep all of my stickers with me!

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In the planner, there is also a performance tracker. You can rate yourself on a scale from 10-100% based off of how well you performed in a given day. The way I use it is that every 10%=200 words. Therefore, 100% means I wrote 2000 words! It’s very hard for me to write 2k words in a day, so I haven’t yet reached this. However, it motivates me to push myself so that I can get as high up as possible. My highest was 90% one day, which I am extremely proud of!

Rewards System:

The back of the planner contains some pages for you to set your goals. I’m using this as a rewards system for each milestone I hit in NaNo. Here’s how it looks:

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  • 10k words- Chick-fil-a trip
  • 25k words- clothes shopping
  • 40k words- buy myself a book
  • 50k words- get the new Kindle Paperwhite!!

This has been a great way to push myself to keep going. I want the Kindle Paperwhite so bad, so I’m only letting myself get it once I hit 50k words. Ideally, this would be by November 30th, meaning I won NaNo. However, if I don’t make it, I’m still going to use this to make sure I finish this draft after NaNo is over!

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I really hope you guys enjoyed this post! I am loving my system and how well it’s been working for me so far. Let me know if you have a system of your own and how it works for you, cause I’m always open to new ideas.

Also, check out the lightspeed planner, which you can buy here!

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How to Stay Organized in School

*This post contains a promotion for the Lightspeed Planner, but all opinions are my own.

I am HUGE on organization. I keep all of my stuff in order, and I work really hard to create systems for myself to keep my papers together.

In college, you don’t get a lot of space to keep all of your papers/textbooks for school (if you dorm), and you don’t have anyone around to tell you to keep your things neat.

I have a few tips here to help you stay organized for the rest of the semester (and hopefully the rest of your school career), which I hope you find helpful.

Use a Planner

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Using a planner is truly vital- especially in college. If you don’t write down all of your assignments, you’re going to lose track of what you have to do. Planners are so beneficial, and you can schedule out time for all of your activities. They are a great visual to utilize, and I would be so lost without mine.

Professors (almost always) give you a syllabi with all of the assignments for the semester listed on them with the due dates, so you can go ahead and mark the calendar right away. This way you won’t forget about something, especially if the Professor doesn’t talk about it in class.

Also, with a planner, you can evenly spread your time out between school, work, friends, and other obligations. You can make sure you have an even balance of everything, and see how much time you spend on each activity.

Planners are just life changing.

Buy a File Folder/Accordion Folder

I can not explain to you how useful having an accordion folder has been for me. I write so many essays and take so many exams. Eventually I don’t need them anymore for the current class, but they may be useful again for either the final exam, or a future class. I don’t want to get rid of all of the notes I have, so I put them all in accordion folders and separate them by class.

My plan right now is to have a new one for each semester, so that way I can easily find anything I’m looking for. You really don’t know when those notes will come in handy again. Obviously, there are many things I throw out and don’t keep, but I like to keep the big assignments or important works that I might be thankful for at a later time.

Pack Your Bag Ahead of Time

The night before every weekday, I pack my backpack. This is extremely important to me, because I tend to get very stressed out in the mornings, especially when I give myself some extra time to sleep in. If I put the things I need in my bag in the morning, I tend to forget things or bring things I don’t need.

Doing it the night before just helps to eliminate some stress!

Make To-Do Lists

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I have been using the Lightspeed Planner for my daily to-do lists, and I am LOVING it. It makes everything so simple and helps you to prioritize your important tasks. It contains around 280 undated pages that are all the same:

  • Must Do
  • Should Do
  • Could Do

It helps you to identify your three main objectives for the day, and will ensure you stay on track. I think overwhelming yourself with too many tasks makes everything very overwhelming and stressful. By just focusing on 3 things a day (you can always write multiple things in each box if you really need), you can fully dedicate yourself to those three things.

At the bottom, there is also a notes section, as well as a progress tracker. You can decide how productive you were for the day, which is really motivating for me.

Overall, using to-do lists really inspires you, and checking off every box on the list is a very great feeling.

Set Time to Clean

Dedicate a specific day/time to cleaning. The days go by so quickly, and sometimes it feels as though you just cleaned your room yesterday, but really it’s been almost two weeks. You really don’t realize how fast it goes by.

I usually dedicate Thursdays to cleaning because it tends to be my lightest day of workload. I have enough time in between my two classes to Swiffer my floor, dust my furniture, organize my files, and clean out my fridge. After class, I usually do my laundry, and then I have the rest of the day to do whatever else I want/need to do.

If I didn’t specifically set this time, I probably wouldn’t dust my room very often, and it would get messy very quickly.

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Please let me know if you try out any of these tips, or if you use them already! Comment some of your organization tips, too. I can always use some more suggestions.

Also, be sure to check out the Lightspeed Planner! I highly recommend it :)

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Dear 2017

Dear 2017,

You were one of the craziest years of my life. So much had happened, both good and bad. I went through a lot. I’ve also grown so much.

So I just want to say thank you.

Thank you for teaching me to give it all I’ve got if I want to accomplish my dreams. Thank you for teaching me to believe in myself and in my work. Thank you for teaching me to slow down, take a deep breath, and take one step at a time. Thank you for bringing the most amazing people into my life. Thank you for giving me so many amazing opportunities. Thank you for showing me the importance of hard work.

Looking back at my journal, I can see that I really focused on myself this year. I wanted a chance to reinvent myself and feel like me again. However, I also lost myself towards the end of the year. I was in a strange and unfamiliar place that I am only starting to come out of now.

This year, I pierced my ear again, read more than ever before, went on a weeklong vacation with my family (over 20 of us), applied to colleges, got my first (and second) job, went camping, started my senior year of high school, got into 9 colleges, and became an adult (!!).

I am finally in a happy place in my life. I want to continue down this road, and make 2018 even more memorable than 2017.

dear 2018,

I promise to make you wonderful.

2018 Goals

I am a huge goal setter. I set daily, weekly, and monthly goals for myself all the time because I like to keep myself motivated with them.  So naturally, I had to create this post because the beginning of 2018 is now upon us. I know 2017 wasn’t the best year for everyone, but that just means we can only go up in 2018. Besides the things that were going on in the world, I changed a lot in 2017. However, I am looking forward to 2018, and I hope to change more than just myself- I want to change the world.

And now, the reason you clicked on this post- my goals!

Say “yes” more

I say no to going out and doing things a lot. I am a homebody, and I need time for myself in order to recharge. I haven’t been spending a lot of times with friends over the past couple of months, especially since I started working. Over winter break, I finally had the rest I needed, and I feel like I am ready to go out again.

Go on more adventures

Like I said before, I stay home a lot. When I do go out, it’s always to the same few places, and I don’t mix it up a lot. This year I am hoping to change that. I want to explore new places in my town and in my state. I want to step out of my comfort zone and see all the different sights there are to see.

Use my film camera more

Over the summer, I bought a film camera, and since then, I have only developed one roll of film. I want to take more pictures and actually use the camera, since I spent a lot of money on it. I want to take the pictures so I can turn them into physical memories. I just need to remember to bring the camera with me.

Spend Less money

I have been a shopaholic my entire life. This is my worst trait in my opinion, because it means when I finally have some money, I impulsively buy way too many things that I don’t even need. If I only follow one resolution, I want it to be this one. Wish me luck (I’m really going to need it for this one).

Read for quality, not quantity

In 2017, I read a total of 65 books. My goal on Goodreads was 50, so I definitely surpassed that. However, I was constantly picking up the shorter books from my TBR in order to finish more books. I don’t want to read like this in 2018, because I don’t want reading to be a competition. Therefore, I set my goal to only 1 book this year so that I can still keep track of what I read, but without the added stress of reaching a goal.

Get organized when it comes to blogging

Way back two years ago, when I first began this blog, I was so organized. I planned out each post, I scheduled them weeks in advance, and had all my pictures taken and ready. Now, I write blog posts in a hurry because I find that I never have time to write them. I want this to change. I want to go back to producing quality content. Hopefully this first post will begin this challenge. I also want to get a routine and a schedule for posting.

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Those are all of my goals for this year. What are some of your resolutions?

xo, jessica