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.

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!

All About Podcasts and Why I Love Them

I’ve never been a podcast enthusiast, I never listened to the radio because I just wanted to listen to music rather than people talking and hearing annoying ads. But then my favorite bloggers and YouTubers started their own shows and I decided to give it a try a couple of years ago.

Initially, I listened to my favorite podcasts on my laptop, because I found it easier to just click the play button in the embed player on the browser, but then, after consuming all my data with Spotify (I don’t have Premium) during my commute, I decided it was about time to test some apps. I didn’t want to pay since I didn’t want to fully commit before testing all the free options. But it turned out that free podcast apps suck. They are full of ads, you can’t decide where downloading the episodes (if you aren’t an iPhone user you usually have the option to have an SD card with additional memory space in your smartphone), and most of the time they crash or stop playing if your screen goes on standby.

After struggling for months, I caved and I purchased Pocket Casts…the best 2,99€ I’ve ever spent! The app works very smoothly, no ads, you can save the downloaded episodes in your memory card, the widget is awesome, the search bar works amazingly well. The list could go on and on!

Now the podcasts. My subscription list looks long, but I don’t usually listen to every single episode of every single show. I prefer to pick just the ones that interest me after reading the blurb and the show notes. My top favorites:

Tea and Tattle is a recent discovery and, well, I do listen to every single episode of this podcast because Miranda and Sophie are my favorites. I love the topics they discuss and I also love that the episodes are around 30 minutes, the perfect length for my commute.

Portrait of a Freelancer is a nice show by Ariel Bissett, my favorite booktuber. She chats about her life as a freelancer and now as an MA student.

The Lavendaire Lifestyle is the podcast by Aileen Xu, probably my favorite YouTuber ever. I have to admit that I don’t care too much about the interviews because I never know the guests, I prefer the episodes where Aileen shares her own thoughts and advice.

The Minimalists show was added to my library after watching the Minimalism documentary on Netflix. Despite the length of the episodes, I really enjoy them, so many great advice.

The four podcasts above are my top favorites and I usually listen to all the episodes, the other 2 rows are all about productivity and I basically just pick the topics I really care about. What Should I Read Next is all about books and Elise Gets Crafty is probably the very first podcast I ever listened and the host, Elise, usually invites fellow creatives I know (like Ali Edwards and Emma of A Beautiful Mess). The Tolkien Professor is my dose of Middle-earth nerdiness and I can’t wait to listen to his new series Exploring The Lord of the Rings. MuggleCast is the very first podcast about Harry Potter, it’s been around for years but I discovered it just a couple of weeks ago, so I still have to listen to it. Finally, a couple of podcasts about LOTRO, my favorite computer game ever, to keep myself updated on all the new things and in-game events.

Not being able to afford audiobooks, podcasts have been a game changer lately. I don’t listen to them only during my commute, but also when I play LOTRO or when I have some free time but I don’t want to stay in front of a screen. I love this medium because the episodes are usually around 30 to 60 minutes and I can choose to learn something new or just listen to someone chatting about my favorite topics. YouTube is great for the same reasons, but I it makes me fall into the comparison trap and want to purchase expensive things (journals, geeky merch, stationery, and so on), not the best if you’re trying to live a more intentional life.

Do you like podcasts? What are your favorites?

Summer Photo Diary

My Summer hasn’t been a memorable one. Three unbelievable heat waves, exams until the end of July, my cat having health issues (along with myself) and other personal stuff, made me wish to see Autumn very soon. But I don’t want to only complain, I have to be grateful for what I have and for the things I managed to do, so I decided to put together a photo diary of my Summer. Mostly for myself since many photos have already been shared on Instagram during the last few months.

My mother and I managed to see the Titanic Artifact Exhibition in my hometown! I’ve been such a huge fan of the movie since it came out when I was only 7 years old and being able to see the exhibition was a dream came true, another thing crossed off my bucket list. That day, there was also a car exhibition. I’m not into that, to be honest, but some designs were incredible and we ended up having lunch in the park nearby.

June ended pretty quickly because of the exams and my days spent studying.

The highlight of July was definitely a night spent at the Palace of Venaria with my friends. We got tickets for the special evening openings and attended water and light games in the park of the palace. We really enjoyed it and the place is so beautiful, it feels like to be inside a mini Versailles.

After finishing my exams, I wanted to enjoy my free week, but we experienced the worst heat wave ever and so I ended up spending all the time at home with the AC. Such a boring way to spend my few days of vacation!

Finally, the second half of August I went back to work at the library where I volunteer. The photos above were taken just outside the National Library (not where I work), they always show amazing flower arrangements and I love to sit there reading my book before going to work.

I’m looking forward to my favorite time of the year and I really hope things are going to be better before the end of the year. In the meantime, I journal journal journal to calm my nerves. It’s such a helpful practice that doesn’t require any special knowledge nor money. Just open the notebook and write down all the words in your head.

How was your Summer, friends? I’d love to catch up with you! I feel like I’ve been a bit too much absent lately.

Do-A-Thon: Intentional Living for One Week (May 1 – 7, 2017)

Better later than never they say. I finally decided to join Mollie’s Do-A-Thon for the next week. I never joined a Read-A-Thon before, because I can’t finish a book in 7 days with my schedule and not even think about 3 books in 5 days or things like that, but when I saw Mollie’s challenge I thought I could at least try participating. In Mollie’s words:

What if we applied intentional “marathoning” to our lives outside of books? […] I want to devote a week of my time to doing the things I always say I’m going to do or want to do. […] This isn’t bucket-list-athon (though it absolutely can be about those bucket list items). 

The DO-A-THON is meant to be broad, because we all have different tasks, dreams, goals, fears to overcome, and desires. However, to choose intentional goals, the following may serve as a great guide for you:

  • Do one thing that scares you or do something that challenges the story you tell yourself.
  • Complete a project (creative or otherwise) that you’ve been putting off.
  • Do something that involves someone else or do something for someone else.
  • Learn something new.
  • Do something to foster a calm or welcoming environment.
More info can be found on the original blog post and this introductory video.
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Well, I don’t have a task for every single point of the list, but I had to make actionable plans, since I’ll have classes from Tuesday to Friday next week. Here are my Do-A-Thon goals:
  • go to the dentist: I already scheduled an appointment, but it was something I kept postponing, since it’s always super expensive.
  • contact 2 professors of mine for exam programs: again, another thing I kept postponing, this time only because I’m afraid of the amount of stuff I’ll have to study, ugh.
  • finish reading The Fellowship of the Ring: I started rereading LOTR in March and I still have to finish the first book, because I lost my focus and I read 2 other books at the same time this month, but I’m very close to the end so I want to finish it!
  • write another article for Middle-earth News: nothing crazy, but I have tons of ideas and I keep procrastinating, I really want to get better and publish, at least, an article per week.
That’s it! Here are my super simple goals for the next week. I never did a challenge like this before, so I don’t know what to expect from myself, I don’t even know how I’ll keep you updated (since I’m supposed to be on a self-imposed Twitter ban, haha), but I hope that writing this down will motivate me to complete this tasks.