My Bookish Rules

Living far away from libraries (and basically everything useful) means I always had to buy books if I wanted to read something, even if I didn’t know if I would like the book or not. So it’s not surprising that I have accumulated a good amount of them during the last few years, until the end of 2012 when I got my beloved Kindle and I started buying ebooks. Owning Amazon’s e-reader isn’t amazing just because you can buy books from the comfort of your home and immediately read them, it’s amazing also because you can read a lot saving money and also without filling your shelves.

But no matter what, books were still cluttering my little IKEA Billy (I have a thinner version that they no longer produce), bending my shelves. Fortunately, this Summer my village got a little free library and I’ve been able to donate many books I didn’t care to keep, like those random chick-lit novels or those I didn’t enjoy.

Don’t get me wrong, I still love paper and I’m often tempted to buy new physical books when I visit bookstores. But since my living space is small, I decided to set some boundaries and I came up with some self-imposed rules to manage my impulse buys in 2018.

  • I’ll buy physical books only by my favourite authors (Tolkien, JK Rowling, Agatha Christie, etc.). I know this is a very difficult rule to follow for a bookworm, but believe me, you would try to stick with it if you’d live in a tiny space like mine.
  • I’ll buy only pretty editions. After donating tons of old books, I realized how ugly were the editions I used to pick up, obviously because I was always trying to save money, so I mostly bought the cheapest pockets/paperbacks around. Now, because of my strict rules, if I’ll buy a book, I’ll choose pretty editions, possibly hardcovers (my favourites).
  • The rest of my reading time will happen on my Kindle. Ebooks have many perks because I can highlight passages (this is why I love reading non-fiction in a digital format), read them everywhere, they don’t take any physical space, and so on.
  • Finally, before purchasing a Kindle book, I’ll always send an extract to my device first. This is such a useful service offered by Amazon, but somehow I always neglected it and directly bought the book, maybe to discover later that I didn’t enjoy the way it was written/formatted/whatever.

That’s it! This is how I plan to handle my bookish life next year. Hopefully one day I’ll be able to own a bigger bookcase and I’ll be able to reduce the number of rules for my book-buying habits.

How I Stay Organized | Fall 2017

One of the things I struggle with the most is my love for technology. While I finally forced myself to automate my social media profiles and I just left Instagram (and a couple of Facebook groups) into my life, I still struggle with my insane love for apps. I like to watch videos and read posts about them, see how other people stay organized and I keep downloading new ones and testing them for some time until I find myself not knowing where my stuff is anymore.

I tried Todoist, TickTick, Asana, Pocket and Instapaper (and many others) because they looked cool and I thought I needed them. I switched so many times my to-do list app during the last few months that I ended up picking up an old notebook one day and just jot things down because I was too frustrated with my tech.

I love Google Drive and I use it all the time since my University moved our academic emails on GSuite, but somehow I forced myself to use Evernote, try OneNote or Dropbox Paper only because people recommended them. The truth is that I already had my own system but I wasn’t paying attention to it because I was too busy switching apps.

Normal girls get excited about a new pair of shoes, I get excited about a new app to try.

Now that we’re about to enter the Holidays season, I want to narrow down the list of tools I use and try to stick with it until the end of the year. Then, I will decide if I want to bring something else back or not.

My System

Here are the apps that I use on my system, the ones I always come back to, and other more recent apps I find very useful.

Google Calendar: I never found another calendar app with the same amount of features for free. Also, the new desktop redesign makes it even better to use.

Google Drive: here is where I store everything, from documents to pdf to online class workbooks, this is also where I draft my blog posts.

Google Keep: I finally ditched all the other to do list apps. After being an all-time fan of Wunderlist, I decided it was time to let it go because I had created so many lists there that it was incredibly cluttered and I even forgot about them. Keep is amazing, I love the way everything is in front of you and you don’t have to open folders or additional lists in order to see more, I even wrote a post on how I use it here.

Google Inbox: while on my laptop I keep using Gmail, I prefer Inbox on my phone because it’s more mobile-friendly and, above all, has a great reminders widget for Android that allows me to set reminders very quickly without even opening the app. The best thing about using Google products is that you can limit the number of accounts and login info to keep in mind.

Evernote: the native notes app on my smartphone isn’t very good and can’t be synchronized on another device, so the notes are just saved locally. Not very secure because if something happens to your phone, the notes are gone. That’s why I use Evernote for my random ideas, drafting blog posts on the go, Instagram captions and so on. I was very pleased by the experience with Simplenote (more suitable to my very simple needs), but I’ve been an Evernote user since 2012 and I didn’t want to create another account on another app. I used to have a very complex system with notebooks, stacks and tags, but I ended up not being able to find my notes (I’m not a fan of the search bar), so I decided to store my files on Drive and simplify my Evernote setup. These days I keep only one notebook and I always try to stay under 50 notes.

Trello: my favourite project management app. I mostly use it to collaborate with other people and plan specific projects. You can find all my posts about Trello here.

OneNote: this is a recent addition to the “collection”. I was looking for a handy way to save articles to read later without having to deal with another app/account. Then I found out that I could use OneNote with my incredibly old Hotmail account and that the feature to save posts there directly from Feedly was free, so I started using it as a “read later” app. I also decided to store some pdf and articles there, because I prefer the way they look there rather than Evernote and so I can keep my Google Drive decluttered and organized. So OneNote is basically my reading centre now, where I also keep blogging resources and interesting articles from the web. Finding thing is easier than Evernote because the way OneNote organize stuff with tabs and pages is exactly how my brain works. I should use it for notes and checklists, but I still prefer Evernote for that since synchronization and formatting work better on mobile.

Photo Editing

Snapseed and A Color Story are both free and they are the only apps I use these days to edit my photos.

Just For Fun

Goodreads Beta: Goodreads recently released a new app for Android and, even if it’s still in beta, I’m loving it. The layout is way better than the standard app and it has nice features.

Libib: this is a recent discovery and I use it to catalog my physical books. I love it because everything is private and it isn’t a social media.

Miscellaneous

Firefox Focus: I still use Chrome for day to da stuff, but when I have to just search random things, I prefer this app. It doesn’t save your chronology and doesn’t allow to open different tabs, so you’re forced to stay focused on what you’re doing. It’s nice to bring a bit of mindfulness in my browser research.

Adobe Scan: I tried tons and tons of scan apps and this one is definitely my favourite. I use it at University to scan notes of my classmates or documents, pages from books and things like that. I can easily scan my documents and save them as pdf files of one or more pages and export them to Drive.


I didn’t want to include the analog part of my organization because I already talked about my journals and planners in the past. However, I wanted to be sure to mention that my system is not completely digital and it will keep being a hybrid one also in 2018.

My Project Life Goals for 2018

Source BeckyHiggins.com

2018 is going to be my fourth year documenting my life with the Project Life app. (If you don’t get what I’m talking about, please, take a look at the official website here). It all started because I felt the need to keep track of private events and photos I took and I didn’t want to share on Instagram or my blog. You know, something you would be comfortable to share with friends and family in a photo album, but not with the internet. Stumbling upon Becky Higgins and her work has been incredible for me, I’ve even been in her Creative Team during 2016 and I will treasure that experience forever.

Since receiving my tablet at the end of 2015, I started creating all my layouts there because it was easier with a big screen. But lately, I started noticing a little bit of laziness in my pages, I basically ended up using just filler cards and avoiding the journaling part, which is one of the things that drove me to the app, other than that I would just create collages elsewhere. Typing on a 10 inches screen isn’t very handy and this is probably the reason why I started journaling less and less this year. Also, having all my layouts on the tablet, I didn’t have them always with me and I even forgot them sometimes, especially during busy weeks, so when I went back to finish them I barely remembered what happened and what was journaling-worthy.

That’s why I decided to write down some goals for the next year, in order to craft better layouts, since I’m still hoping to be able to afford to print them in a photo book one day!

Reinstall the PL app on my phone and work on my layouts when I have time, not just when I remember they exist!

Use only 1 or 2 kits per year. I love all the amazing designs out there, but I’d like to have a more minimalistic approach and more cohesive spreads next year. However, I’ll keep open the possibility to choose other kits for layouts about special events, for example.

Take pictures of cards, mementoes and screenshots of nice chats. I have a Traveler’s Notebook where I keep all the cards and scraps of packaging paper I receive, it’s like a scrapbook without photos and I love it, but I’d like to add more mementoes into my Project Life layouts too. If I watch a movie and I really like it, I usually keep the ticket stubs and glue them inside my personal journal (I started doing it when I was a child!). However, one of my goals with Project Life is to record the little things, so I’d like to add more photos of tickets and things like that too.

Add more journaling cards! As I mentioned above, I’d like to journal more in my layouts. I have boxes and boxes of photo albums of my family and, even if I remember almost everything about my childhood, I’d love to know more about the people in my grandparents and parents’ albums. What actually made me try Project Life was, in fact, the ability to add more than just photos.

Stick with a monthly theme. For the whole 2015 and 2016, I did weekly layouts. Every Sunday, I picked my tablet and I created a page to summarize my week. It worked well at first, but then I started feeling too frustrated because I didn’t have enough photos to fill a page or there weren’t noteworthy things to record. For 2017, I decided to switch to monthly pages and work on them when I felt like it, rather than every Sunday, and, despite the laziness mentioned above, I felt way better about it.

Keep it private. After discovering Project Life, I fell in the rabbit hole of blogs and YouTube channels all about that, there are so many talented people out there! I immediately thought about creating a blog to share my pages, but then I decided to share them here to keep things simple (maybe some long-time readers will remember it!). Unfortunately, I realized that it created so much pressure to me and, while it was a nice a way to share my life with my readers, I realized I wasn’t spontaneous anymore, it was just something I did to share with the internet, like Instagram or my blog. It still was my real life documented, but I stopped adding family photos or personal stuff because I would have to blur them before uploading the image on the blog and it was too much work. Over the years, I’ve learned that some hobbies need to remain private in order to stay authentic and spontaneous. I don’t always have to share everything on the internet. I still like to talk about it, that’s why I wrote this post, but this is not going to be a regular column anymore.

 

If you create scrapbooks or other kinds of memory keeping, I’d love to hear your plans for 2018!

Currently | October

October is almost over and I didn’t manage to stick with my goals of writing more here, but I’ve worked behind the scenes the whole month on new projects that I’m very excited for! When I stay away from the blog for too long, I always feel the need to do some recap (it happens with my journal too), so a Currently post is perfect. 🙂

Reading: Library of the Dead by Glenn Cooper, this is the first time reading this author for me. I purchased the Kindle edition a couple of years ago during an Amazon sale because it was cheap and many people recommended it to me since I’m a big fan of James Rollins. I’m halfway through the book and I have to say the writing style is enjoyable but there are some things that are described in too much detail, like the murder of a newborn…not my cup of tea!

Watching: Designated Survivor, my new favourite TV series ever, returned for a second season on Netflix! I’m also watching Star Trek Discovery because I couldn’t resist watching all the previous series and I like it so far, it should be the prequel to the original series so I should be able to understand it.

Loving: seeing pumpkins everywhere 🙂

Thinking: about Thor: Ragnarok that will be released next week just in time for my birthday!

Planning: lots of articles and collaborations. I have some plans for Travelling Geek Show, 2 new post series that will be published once a month, feel free to subscribe to the blog to stay updated! I’m collaborating with my friend Francesco for a new guest post on his brand new blog; I have a great post queued for Page Flutter (in November); I’m also planning a series of posts all about Trello and how I use it in my everyday life. I also created a homepage for all my random works around the internet, you can visit it here if you’re interested.

Finally, I decided to start a new experiment (because I wasn’t busy enough LOL) opening a new Facebook page to share all my writing works and interesting stuff I find on the internet. I’m still not sure about the name because I don’t want to make it all about my blog but I also don’t want to use my Name and Surname for reasons. “Alice’s Writing” won my Instagram poll, but I’m still not sure about it (do you have any advice? ;)).

I hope you’re doing well, how’s your October going? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

Why Discovering Your Personality Type Matters

Just after finishing high school, my life completely changed because of University. It was a completely new world without a solid routine and much more free time (actually I didn’t have as much free time as I thought and I learned the lesson during the second year). This new life allowed me to explore more the internet, the blogging world, and dust off some old passions of mine. I wasn’t following what my classmates were doing/thinking/believing anymore. Not that I didn’t have a personality in high school, but we know how it works at that age: you always want to be part of the group.

I discovered so many things about myself. First and foremost that I am an introvert. Despite being an only child, I’ve always been surrounded by people because my mom has always been on a mission to not let me become a spoiled kid, so she was the cool stay at home mom who always organized play dates and, later on, study dates. I was a very quiet and shy girl and I loved playing on my own when I was at home but, enjoying so much my time with friends, I never thought of myself as an introvert. I used to classify myself as a people person rather than a lone wolf.

However, I always felt a little bit different from my friends. I never enjoyed drinking alcohol nor going to the disco (despite my love for dancing), I always preferred movie nights at home rather than crowded restaurants, I always had an incredibly sensitive skin, I always hated loud noises, and I’ve always been very emotional in circumstances involving animals. The impatient reactions of my friends to my “issues” made me thought that I was just a whiner. Which led me to a complete unacceptance of myself as a person. Why can’t I just be normal?

Thankfully, the internet taught me that we’re not made the same way and that different personality types exist. I’ve taken many personality tests and read a lot about it during the last few years and I was so pleased to discover that one of my favorite bloggers, Anne Bogel, was about to publish a book all about personality types. The book is titled Reading People and I’ve just finished it. I’m not very good at reviewing books, but this one was so good that I really wanted to share some love.

Anne analyzes different personality frameworks and guides the reader through the whole book telling also personal stories (my favorite parts).

I jokingly say I need two cups of tea and a hundred pages of a good novel to recover from a boisterous night out, but I’m really not kidding.

Oh, Anne, I couldn’t relate more!

According to several different free tests (I never took the official one because it’s a bit expensive), my Myers–Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is ISTJ, The Logistician. And I loved reading more about it in Anne’s book, she helped me to confirm that I belong to this type and to discover that Highly Sensitive People actually exist. I’m a normal person, after all.

The ISTJ is a quiet pillar of society with a deep regard for duty, tradition, and stability.

Reading this passage in the book, I couldn’t help but inner screaming “OMG it’s me!!”. I also learned that my leading cognitive function is Introverted Sensing and the description fits me so well, it’s impressive!

Those who lead with Introverted Sensing respect tradition, uphold the status quo, and do things by the book. They are organized and structured. They prefer routines and predictability and have a tendency toward nostalgia. More than any other type, they believe the past repeats itself.

Pay attention that it’s important to not fall into the trap of making decisions based on our personality type once we discovered it. As Anne says in the book:

Learning more about personality has helped me make peace with the way I was made (even though some days I’d rather trade myself in for a different model). […] My personality isn’t a limiting label; instead, understanding my personality has blown my possibilities wide open.

Visiting the official website of the book, you’ll be able to take a funny reading personality quiz! Mine is the Escapist and I totally agree with it. 🙂


Reading People: How Seeing the World through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything
Author: Anne Bogel
Genre: Personal Growth
Official website: readingpeoplebook.com

We are collectively obsessed with the idea of defining and knowing ourselves and our unique place in the world. For readers who long to dig deeper into what makes them uniquely them (and why that matters), Reading People explains the life-changing insights that can be gained from the most popular personality frameworks, such as Myers-Briggs, StrengthsFinder, Enneagram, and others and shares specific, practical real-life applications across all facets of life, including love and marriage, productivity, parenting, the workplace, and spiritual life. Understanding personality can revolutionize the way we live, love, work, and pray.