If We Were Having Tea | August 2017

This series is inspired by theย Weekend Coffee Share posts, with the difference that I don’t drink coffee anymore, so I just switched to tea!

If we were having tea I would tell you that I have so much to say that I don’t even know where to start. The last few months have been tough for me, I didn’t have a properly relaxed Summer and I’m so ready for Autumn, more than ever, since we’re going to experience another heat wave next week. Ugh.

I would tell you how much I’ve been worried for my cat lately. After taking her to the vet for her annual vaccine, she experienced some episodes of glycemic imbalance making her acting (and feeling) as she was diabetic. We learned it can happen when cats stress out or get a shock. We’re currently trying to cure her avoiding insulinย injection but it isn’t easy. I really hope it won’t turn out in actual diabetes. I didn’t share this with many people because I was feeling too sad to talk, to be honest, it’s also one of the things that kept me away from the blog lately.

On a positive note, I would tell you that I finally decided to be more intentional with the TV shows I watch. My plan is to tackle one season at a time, watching no more than 3 TV shows at the same time. Currently, I have to finish season 2 of Lost, season 1 of The Good Wife and finish Downton Abbey. Next on my queue I have:

  • Star Trek: I never watched it, so I’m a complete newbie!
  • The Musketeers: my friend Lily recommended it to me and I can’t wait to start this series! When I was a child, I used to be obsessed with the 1993 movie with Charlie Sheen and I also enjoyed the most recent one (2011) with Orlando Bloom.
  • Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries: Netflix recommended it to me and it looks like such a cozy nice mystery with Agatha Christie’s vibes that I can’t pass it.

I would officially announce that I opened a bookstagram account as @alicethelibrarian! I toyed with the idea to switch full-time to bookstagram on my main account, but, after a couple of months, I realized I really missed sharing non-book related photos, so I switched back to random topics. But, at the same time, I missed my bookish days, so I decided to open a secondary account! I’m planning to use it to keep track of my readings and share my latest acquisition, nothing too demanding (just to avoid burnout!).

I would tell you how happy I am to work with Megan of Page Flutter as a regular contributor on her blog! It’s nice to see your own work truly appreciated and she’s such an inspiration to me. In case you missed it, here is the list of posts I wrote so far:

I would totally recommend you a new podcast I stumbled upon,ย Tea and Tattle. Miranda and Sophie chat about “culture, style, happiness boosters and more” every Tuesday. I always look forward to a new episode, because I know it won’t disappoint me.

Finally, I would admit that I’m still looking for the perfect planner for 2018. This year I changed my mind too many times and I just want to purchase a good diary and stick to it for the whole year this time. I would also ask if you’ve already thought about your own planner for 2018 and what’s your choice.

 

Your turn! If we were having tea (or coffee, if you prefer), what would you tell me? ๐Ÿ™‚

10 Years of Blogging: My Timeline

Few months ago, I share my thoughts afterย 10 years of active blogging. I was so emotional in that post that I didn’t even bothered to write an actual timeline, it might be a bit boring to read, since I didn’t save any screenshot of my past blogs through the years, but I know it’s something I’d like to see in my archives.

Summer 2007 – 2008

This is the year my dad bought our first laptop and, for the first time, he created a user profile just for me. I was 16 and the internet was basically just born for ordinary people here in Italy, having an email account was still something crazy and my parents were scared to death because of all those terrifying documentaries about the dangers of the internet. This is also probably the year we got a “faster” internet connection, the Adsl, before that it was all cables and weird sounds.

Thanks to my highschool mates, I discovered MSN, Microsoft’s blogging and social networking platform, which was the only popular one at that time (no Myspace or LiveJournal here in Italy). I remember spending so much time, especially in the Summer, chatting with my friends in the evening. Then I discovered blogs and, keeping an active paper journal since I was a child, I decided to give it a go. I remember that one of the posts I was mostly proud of was the translation of President Obama’s first speech. Even if I wasn’t into politics, I remember crying with my mom in front of the news listening to his (translated) words.

I loved playing with graphic and widgets at that time, it was like having a little virtual house to furnish.

My first time in London!

Summer 2009

The year I got my highschool diploma. MSN wasn’t fashionable anymore and I needed some distractions during the last days before the big final exams. So, I joined the online community of a magazine I was reading at that time, you could even have personal blogs there and join conversations in the forums. Unfortunately I didn’t meet many people of my same age, because it had an older audience that site, so I got bored after a couple of years.

When selfies were still just a hobby ๐Ÿ˜€

2010

My first full year at University was also when I finally caved and joined Facebook. My friends were begging me since the last year of highschool, I didn’t like the platform, but I ended up joining it because I desperately wanted to play Farmville. *face palm*

I think this is also the year I joined Twitter, or maybe it was 2010 (?).

April 2010

My very first blog was opened on Blogspot. The title was “Caro Diario”, which means “Dear Diary” in English. Super fancy, right? This is the very first button I got, made for me by a fellow blogger. Unfortunately our friendship didn’t last after she closed her own blog.
It looks so cute! So many great memories!

This blog changed so many names and graphics through the years. Here are some past headers.

It’s hilarious that some titles were in English even if I was blogging in Italian. ๐Ÿ˜€

Bloggers meet-up in Milan!

December 2011

I participated to my very first blogging meet-up in Milan, with 3 other internet friends. It was the first time I’ve met someone from the internet and it felt suuuper weird, but I really enjoyed that experience.

The year I got both a camera and a cat ๐Ÿ™‚

2012

After changing my blog so many times, I felt very scattered and tired, I couldn’t find my own voice, I was tired of the kind of blogs available in Italian (mostly mommy and cooking blogs) and all the excitement for the upcoming Hobbit movie made me to dust off my English and I started interacting with other Tolkien fans. I didn’t even know the Tolkien community existed, after years spent neglecting my passion because I was the only “weirdo” around, I had finally found my people!

Also, blogging was changing with the popularity gained by social media. At the end of the year, I decided to close my blog for good, because I didn’t enjoy writing anymore.

When Middle-earth fully came back into my life.

April 2013

I joined Middle-earth News, probably one of my biggest milestone of my life. I’ve been asked to join the team by my friend Lily, who was enjoying my little side project: I had joined a network called MyMiddleEarth and I started sharing events from the books (The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit) on a blog, publishing them the exact day they were happening, according to Tolkien’s book Appendix. This is how my Saturday column, This Week in Middle-earth, was born.

At this point, I was feeling pretty comfortable with my English, but I wasn’t ready to commit to a full blog, so I tried Tumblr for some time, but I didn’t stick with it. The platform is cool, but I wasn’t in highschool anymore and building a readership only with original posts was almost impossible.

Summer 2014

My favorite blog of all time, A Beautiful Mess, that I was following since 2010, put its courses on sale and I purchased Blog Life. Shortly after, in December, I won Photoshop for Bloggers during one of their Christmas giveaways. I learned a LOT from them and it’s when I finally caved and decided to start blogging again. I was missing it a lot, but I didn’t want to open a new blog I would get tired of after a couple of months, I wanted to do it well. So, I started brainstorming a name, searching if it was already taken on the internet and, then, buying a domain.

August 4th, 2014 The Geeky Burrow was born.

*By the way, this post has been inspired by the one A Beautiful Mess published to celebrate their own blogversary. I’ve been a loyal reader of theirs since 2010.

2015

The year I graduated and I spent many months at home waiting to start my MA in September. I already mentioned it, but it’s when I started studying blogging and business just for fun, testing out some lessons learned on my own blog. Trying to cope with my post-Hobbit-films sadness, the struggle of not being a student and being unemployed and much more.

Needless to say that I got super burned out by the end of the year. Starting back University stolen basically all my free time and I thought more than once to close the blog.

The year I joined Snapchat ๐Ÿ˜€

2016

Last year I kept myself busy with Project Life. Becky Higgins selected me to be part of her creative team and I had a blast! I also discovered digital scrapbooking and I started to take photos just for me and my memory keeping projects again, instead of Instagram.

I started book blogging, but, despite my effortย to socialize with others, I felt the community a bit locked, not very welcoming for new bloggers. Despite my huge love for books, I discovered I didn’t enjoy writing reviews and my reading numbers weren’t high enough for challenges and things like that.

I did my very first collaboration, cross-posting, with my friend Francesco (here is his post, here is mine).

This is also the year I’ve been contacted to review a mattress (all the way from US!) and some superheroes underwear. Yep, you’ve read it right. Needless to say I declined the offers.

2017

At the beginning of this year, I banned my editorial calendar and I decided to blog whenever I wanted. 6 months in and it feels so good, let me tell you!

I also started contributing for an awesome blog I was reading, Page Flutter. You can read my first article here.


Congratulations if you’re reading these words, it means you arrived at the end of this very long post! I had so much fun sharing my story with you all, I hope you’ve enjoyed it too. Blogging is always evolving and it’s very different from 10 years ago.

I hope to be able to write a 20 year celebration post one day. ๐Ÿ™‚

The Month of Self Care

I’m so happy to report that moving to WordPress was the best choice ever, it worths the money and the time. Unfortunately I didn’t manage to fix the broken links yet, but you know when you push yourself too hard, you pretend too much from yourself and then your body lets you know it’s too much. Well, when that happens you have to slow down.

2017 has been a difficult year for me concerning health, my pollen allergies are evolved in a year-long kind of allergy bringing me chronic colds, I’ve been through 4 colds this Winter/Spring. Not the best thing to experience when you’re a student and you have to spend basically all day on books studying. This obviously slowed me down and made me accumulate more exams than I could manage, but I wanted to pass them all before the end of Summer. I had this big plan all laid out and I was very determined to make it.

But then other things happened and caused me even more anxiety than they should, because my body was already proven by months with an exploading head and unability to think, and I had a meltdown a couple of days ago, I had to tell my parents I couldn’t go on this way and I needed to slow down. Thankfully, they support me, but it isn’t easy, especially when you see everybody else getting a degree, while I’m always at home blowing my nose day and night. I tend to ignore my body, because I want to be stronger than it, but let me tell you friends, don’t do that. Always listen to your body!

I’m going to move 2 exams of the 3 ones I had to do to Semptember and I’m going to focus on one thing at a time. Earning my MA a couple of months later won’t be so catastrophic, jobs will still be unavailable, no matter what, and I’ll be unemployed either way (not to exaggerate, it’s just how things go here in Italy).

I’m so glad that Cori (TheResetGirl) organized her first Camp Reset this month (it’s totally virtual and free, FYI), because this is exactly what I needed, it was one of the things that actually made deciding to finally slow down and take care of myself. It’s like a camp for introverts and I’ve been journaling like crazy lately. July is going to be my month of Self Care and I hope you’ll follow my advice, friends.

Always listen to your body. โค

A Fresh Start

After a few years, I finally decided to invest some money in my blog and I moved it here, on WordPress.com. I couldn’t go self-hosted, but this is already a big progress to me. During the next few days, I’ll make sure to fix all the broken links, unfortunately your comments are gone, but I’ll still be able to read them all on Disqus.

I’m still not sure if Bloglovin and Feedly will keep working, I hope so, since I know I’ve already lost some readers along the road, but it’s the price to pay, I guess. Writing this post in the new editor is already a pure joy for me, so I’m very positive about the “move”.

I tried to do my best with the theme of the blog, I hope it will make things easier than on Blogspot, since this is a truly responsive one and I didn’t have to DIY anything (yay!), you can easily use the buttons in the sidebar to follow the blog if you want.

My goals for the blog are still the same, I’m not going to treat it like a job anymore and I’m not going to have an editorial calendar, I hope you’ll find my content still enjoyable though, I miss the good old days of blogging when social media didn’t exist and the only way to communicate with each other was only through comments.

I hope you’ll stick around, starting this new adventure together, thank you for your support, friends!

Thoughts On Building a Healthier Relationship with the Internet

I recently started thinking about my (several) passions and the role they played in my life. When I was a child, my main hobbies were drawing and painting, and doing random craft projects inspired by Art Attack, in addition to playing with friends or alone. Growing up, I abandoned all the former (offline) hobbies and blogging became my new passion project, especially during highschool, when I discovered the web. But we all know that the internet is like a black hole, once you’re in, times flies and you can spend 3 hours at the computer without even noticing it.

Lately, I started missing my old hobbies, so I decided to be more intentional with my time online, because this instant gratification thing that social media give us is very bad for my ability to focus on one thing at a time for more than a couple of minutes, plus it’s unhealthy. I also realized something that made me freak out: I couldn’t even watch a TV show without checking my phone, it’s a bad twitch. It’s scary.
Here are some steps I took forward to have an healtier relationship with my tech during the last few months:
  • I check out Feedly only from my tablet. After abandoning Bloglovin’, I moved my list of blogs to follow over Feedly, which is more robust, has more features (even a Chrome extension) and it isn’t social. These perks, though, made me accumulate a ginormous library of sites and it was so easy to reach out the browser bookmark when I got bored at my laptop, because I knew there was always something new to read there. So, I purged my list and deleted the bookmark, using it only from the tablet app now, this means I can use it only when I actually have time to spend intentionally reading.
  • I save articles to read later on Instapaper. I love this tool, because it’s free and has a cleaner interface than Pocket, also it allows me to highlight quotes and save articles for future reference. It’s also a good way to properly read the articles and posts from my favorite blogs when I have time to dedicate them and leave meaningful comments.
  • I use the Medium app only from my tablet. I used to check Medium on my phone all the time, that site is the hub of productivity articles and I could spend hours browsing through the contents (very unproductive, I know!), but having it only on my tablet prevents me to procrastinate.
  • My tablet is my reading tool. I still use and love my Kindle ereader for books, but my 10 inches tablet is a nice companion and my mind associates it with “serious” stuff, because of all these reading apps installed and the lack of social media and games that might distract me. Also, I use it for taking notes at university, store articles, slides from my professors and so on.
  • The only social media app on my smartphone is Instagram. Well, I have Snapchat too, but I only use it to send silly selfies to my parents and close friends these days; since the launch of Instagram Stories, basically all the people I was following stopped posting on Snapchat.
  • I use Facebook like an hybrid version of Reddit. I deleted my actual profile 3 years ago and I created a new (secret) one that I use to manage a couple of pages and to interact inside groups, I don’t have any RL friends or family members there. Most people says they couldn’t leave Facebook, because they use it to stay in touch with people, well, I never used it that way, because I have WhatsApp for that purpose!
  • I don’t use Twitter anymore. During the last 6 months, Twitter became the hub of sadness for me, because of politic and negative tweets that come out every hour of the day. I started purging my following, create lists and things like that, but they are useless if even your friends share that stuff, so I decided to step away from that. I’ve set up email notifications for mentions and I have a couple of IFTTT recipes to share my latest articles and blog posts. I feel incredibly better away from that negativity.
  • I’m taking a break from Instagram challenges. I decided to try and stick with photo challenges for the last couple of years, because I wanted to consistently post at least once a day, but I didn’t have enough ideas to do that, so they were what I needed to keep sharing with consistency. I used Later to schedule photos to share at certain times and I had monthly lists of prompts on Trello. Now I am enjoying the app sharing photos only when I feel like it, even if I stay a week without posting.
Stepping away from all this, made le realize a couple of things. For example, I didn’t have a private hobby anymore, everything has been shared online. I started studying hand-lettering and calligraphy last year, but I stopped it eventually because I felt the pressure to share my progress all the time, because I thought people expected it. This sounds incredibly silly, I know, but this is how my mind worked. I definitely want to start this hobby again, but I won’t tell the world about it this time. Same with LOTRO, I felt the need to share my in-game experience because some players followed me back on Twitter, I even wrote a couple of posts here on the blog, but, to be fair, it wasn’t super spontaneous, I was, once again, feeling the pressure to let people know my progress.
While I was writing this post, a blogger I admire also published a recap of her social media detox, I think it’s an inspiring reading and I invite you to visit her blog.
I leave you with a quote by Alexandra Franzen:

Yet, in the midst of my tweetery, I often felt a nagging feeling inside. A voice asking, โ€œAlex, is this really how you want to be spending your life-minutes? Isnโ€™t there something else that might be a more meaningful use of your time? Wouldnโ€™t you rather be walking outside, talking to your mom, writing a novel, having sex, working out, mailing a letter, volunteering, you know, all of those things that you โ€˜never have enough timeโ€™ to do?โ€