Sunday, January 11, 2015

Confessions: Looking Back at 2014 and My New Year's Resolutions For 2015

All These Things That I've Done- in 2014:

1. Started a book blog, for the second time. And I've kept at it devotedly since April 2014.

2. I wrote much more for my books/world, which was one of the reasons behind me starting the book blog. I've been told if you write daily, even if it isn't for your books/stories, you'll write more, and I have to say that's true for me. So far, I've filled out 1 and 3/4 of notebooks with different variations of my stories, all written in cursive, the dying art form.

3. Grew my own plants for my garden. Including 12 tomato plants and a whole variety of squash. I may have lost a few to the heat, but the tomato plants were more bountiful than my neighbor's store-bought tomato plants. So there.

4. Read 100+ books. In all honesty, I didn't put some of my books I read on my Goodreads account, because they were awful romances that didn't deserve me marking them even as read. But for the ones I did mark, I ended up with quite a few more 'read' than I originally intended. (I started my challenge last year with a goal of 50 books, upped it to 75, which eventually became 100).

5. Wove 2 scarves, knitted two dog sweaters, made bookish ornaments, made paw-print ornaments, and painted a holiday village church, but neglected my other holiday crafts. I still have an army of nutcrackers to paint, along with nesting dolls, a nativity scene, and another holiday house.
6. Started learning to code. I started to learn to code via code academy, but promptly was swamped with other things. But at least I tried, and know just enough to correct some basic things. It counts for something.
7. Revamped my blog design, too many times to count. It seems every time I'm happy with it, I see something that irks me, leading to another makeover. I'm very happy with this simple design, but the perfectionist in me always sees room for improvement.
8. Kept up with my book review requests, even when I over-clicked on NetGalley. For some reason it isn't hard for me to say no to a lot of books, mostly because I'm very good at knowing what is my kind of book. I have two reviews to write in 2015, but so far my record is mostly spotless.

Note: In addition to this post, I've done a year in review for 2014 for my blog, which will probably have more statistics blogwise, etc.

[Click here for a music video of "All These Things That I've Done" by the Killers on mobile devices]

Shaking It Out In 2015:

1. Comment 6 times during a week, and comment on new-to-me blogs more. I can probably manage 6 comments, even in the weeks I'm feeling especially antisocial.
2. Continue my posting schedule of four times weekly. Sometimes I struggle with this because I don't know what to say about a certain book, what to discuss during my Confessions, or Sunday Fun Five lists. In other words, sometimes I lack words, but I've managed it in 2014 so 2015 should be a snap.
3. Participate in more Challenges and Read-a-Thons. This should be easy, since I've only ever participated in one readathon and one challenge, both for 'Travel the World in Books'. I will just have to keep watching out for something to shake up my reading habits.
4. Update my social media and blog archives more frequently. I'm absolutely awful at this- I rarely, if ever, personalize and hashtag tweets for specific books (which often bring a lot of new people to my blog), I often forget to post to Pinterest (which is surprisingly effective for upping blog post views), and my archive goes untouched by me despite the fact I've written another fifteen book reviews. So yes, updating things more frequently is on my list of things to do in 2015.

1. Read 111 books in 2015. In 2014, I read 105 books, and wanted to read 111 (which I may have accomplished had I noted my read kindle freebies). This year I plan on accomplishing my reading goal, unless unforeseen circumstances arise.
2. Buy less books and ebooks. I have plenty of reading material to last me the next 2+ years. I really don't need to buy everything I want, nor do I have the funds to buy everything I want.
3. Read a more balanced diet. Some months I seem to read mostly one genre- I'd like to be more balanced in what I read, therefore reading several genres (that aren't just different varieties of fantasy) in a month.

1. Take the dogs out to play in the yard at least twice a week. This sounds silly, but sometimes all I want to do is play with them inside, even though we have a perfectly huge yard and both Keisha and Torrie are addicted to fetching tennis balls.
2. Take the dogs for a walk at least once a week. I used to walk Torrie every single day in Montana, regardless of any weather conditions. I also used to live right by a trail system/wildlife area, which was perfect for walking Torrie because I could avoid the idiots who let their dogs off leash, subsequently resulting in their dog biting/snapping at Torrie due to her "I was raised on a reservation, and therefore am a wild dog" vibe. Unfortunately, the areas I like to walk Torrie in here in Idaho have to be driven to, but I'm sure I can find a loose-dog-free stretch of area nearby that will suit our purposes.
3. Trim Torrie and Keisha's nails at least once a month. Dogs need their toenails kept clipped, and all the places I've looked in Idaho make you pay $10 per dog. I can't afford that, so I invested in a dog-nail-clipper, and therefore my resolution is to clip them at least once a month.
4. Stop accidentally hitting Keisha in the head when throwing the tennis ball. I swear every time we go outside, I end up bouncing the ball off of Keisha's little noggin, despite Torrie's skull being a much larger target. This also happens when my mother throws the ball, so I either need to invest in a tiny Dorkie-sized helmet, or we both need to work on our eye-hand coordination.

My seedlings of 2014
1. Try to raise all my own gardening plants. Last year, I raised almost all the plants that ended up in our garden, but I lost a few to the summer heat. This year I'll try to be more vigilant and water more, in addition to planting/raising my own flowering annuals.
2. Craft less, draw more. This year I overloaded on crafts, to the point that I couldn't do nearly as many as I thought I could this holiday season. I don't think I've drawn all year, except for my imaginary covers of Summer Knight and Doors of Stone. I should balance my creative wiles this year and draw (and maybe paint) more.
3. Try new homemade foods/spices. I have a pretty restricted diet due to my infernal stomach problems, and trying new foods is not an easy thing. The only vegetables my stomach can 'stomach' are carrots and yams, but I hope to broaden my palate by introducing a few new veggies- maybe even homegrown if I can manage. I also cannot have spices with any type of pepper (not black pepper- red, yellow, green, etc.) besides paprika, so expanding my spice horizon is also on my list of things to try.
4. Don't overcommit on tv shows. There are quite a few tv shows I used to watch that I quit watching this year, mostly because their plots had become so inane or shock-jock-like that I couldn't see continuing with them. That said, I have a tendency of giving many pilot tv series too much leeway and watching them, even if I'm reading blog posts/playing sudoku half the time they're on. This year, if it sucks, I'm not watching it. I have better things to do, like read.
5. Stress LESS. For some reason, despite my lack of commitments and debts to society, I am always stressed out by something. Be it a snide article I read online, seeing my friends doing something I'm not physically able (yet) to accomplish, or a vexing doctor who seems to be part robot, there will always be something bothering me any given month. For that reason, my official song of 2015 will again be "Shake It Out" by the wonderful Florence and the Machine (not to be confused with Swift's Shake It Off, which kind of sounds the same but was produced later). My favorite lyric: "And it's hard to dance with a devil on your back, so shake him off."

[Click here for "Shake It Out" music video on mobile devices]

Did you accomplish something you hadn't expected to in 2014? Have you chosen any goals for 2015?


  1. You've done a great job with your blog! I'm glad you're around! :)

    I wish I could figure out how to knit. I am so inept, I swear.

    A couple bloggers and I have an Art Journal Project group on FB to encourage ourselves to draw more. You are welcome to join if you like! I have like no skill at all but the others are great and talented. Helps me to work harder!

    I am hoping to read more from my TBR piles this year. No sense having all these books sitting around being unread!

    1. Aww, thanks Becca! My knitting secret is this- I use a loom knitter or knifty knitter, so I'm not actually working *that* hard and can do it while watching tv. My attempts at picking up crochet and traditional knitting have failed, mostly because loom knitting is so much easier.
      We'll see how I do with drawing- I usually draw/paint from old National Geographic pictures. I'll consider joining your group, but my drawing is usually locked away in my notebooks and never sees the light of day.
      I actually am letting myself buy books- as long as they are free. But, I too want my bookshelves (and kindle carousel) a little less cluttered by the time 2016 comes around.
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Becca!
      ~Litha Nelle


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