how I'm doing with NaNoWriMo so far [and what I've learned]

Friday, November 17, 2017


I wanted to take a little bit of time today to update y'all on how NaNoWriMo has been going for me so far. If you are new around here, NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month, and it's one of my favorite things that I participate in all year round.

If you are following me on Twitter, you know that I had a thoroughly planned novel ready to go when I suddenly changed my mind and came up with a totally new idea on October 31. My original plan was a contemporary young adult novel where all of my characters had names and backstories and families and personality traits but suddenly, I was writing a fantasy novel in an imaginary world, none of my characters had names, my made-up world didn't have a name and I gave people magical powers as I thought of them.

It has been a wild ride.

But I love NaNoWriMo and everything it stands for, and I am just happy to be getting words on a page. And hey – who knew, I am actually loving the fantasy story I am telling, and every NaNo previous, I have ended up hating my contemporary YA novel halfway through. Maybe I am onto something here.

STATUS UPDATE

• I have written 35,000 words so far. This has been amazing for me, and I am way ahead of schedule (the goal for Day 17 is 28,333 words). I hit the ground running on Day 1 and wrote 3,000 words, and while there have been a few days where I have only gotten out a few hundred words, most days I am hitting the 1,666 goal and surpassing it. I am putting words on the page and that is huge for me!

• I am using Dabble to tell my story. I use Dabble, which is currently free for NaNo participants but will be a paid program in December, to write my story. And I plan on subscribing after NaNoWriMo, because they are offering 50 percent off to all winners. It is a really great browser and desktop app that works for me and makes it easy to organize my notes and my story, and I will really appreciate it come editing time. There are other softwares out there like Scrivener but I've heard they are really complicated – I am thankful for this simple interface!

• My characters, for the most part, have names. This has been big, because on Day 1, I was totally winging it. No one had a name! But I am thinking of changing my main character's name.

WHAT I'VE LEARNED SO FAR

• I do not need to be embarrassed to talk about my novel. I still hesitate sometimes to explain my novel to people – saying, "I am writing a young adult fantasy novel set in a world where everyone has magic in their blood, but the main character can control and take magic from others." and going on to explain what that means has taken me some time to be OK with, but instead of being embarrassed, I instead am proud – proud that I have had this idea in the first place and proud that I am putting words on the page! So, I am using this to remind myself that I should never, ever feel anything but proud about the things I create.

• If I get writer's block, I switch to writing by hand for a while. This has been crucial to me, and I want to use it for other tasks/projects as well. The minute I get clogged up while typing, I switch to writing on a legal pad! The words just flow out of me, and because I can't backspace, I do not care if they're good – I know I can tidy them back up when I type up what I wrote into Dabble later. This effectively destroys any writer's block I am experiencing, right away.

• Rewards, big and small, are crucial. When you have huge tasks or tedious projects in front of you, give yourself rewards. I created a little reward chart for myself, and rewarded myself with things I have been wanting to buy for myself when I reached important goals (5K, 10K, 20K, 30K, 40K and 50K are my milestones). Knowing that I could finally order those Crayola brush tip pens when I reached 10K is what got me going in the first few days of NaNoWriMo to meet my goal a week early.

Let yourself get ahead when you feel like it. I knew that it was always important in NaNoWriMo to write when you feel the urge so that you can pad your word count for later and to never walk away at 1,666 words just because you met your daily goal, but more than ever, I have been taking advantage of any bursts of energy and any free time I have to get ahead. I even wrote in the Uber on the way to the airport last week!

• Find community. I have been meaning to go to write-ins with members of the Chapel Hill NaNoWriMo community and haven't made it there yet – although I am hoping this weekend will be my chance, since I am calling the next week my vacation – but I am finding community with a few friends of mine who are participating in NaNo as well as just tweeting about it often and using the hashtags. I'm participating in word sprints and responding to let people know my word count. I am being very public about what I am doing so that I can encourage myself and feel connected when I struggle – instead of like I am fighting my own battles by myself.


•••

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year? Have you ever heard of it before?

4 things to do now to get ahead on your holiday gift shopping

Wednesday, November 15, 2017
If you read the headline on this post and thought, "Oh, my god, she has got to be joking," this post is probably for you.

I love buying and giving gifts for the holidays. And every single year, I get a little bit more excited about it. Unwrapping presents on Christmas morning is one of my favorite things, hands down, but there is nothing that tops giving a gift to someone that they really love and appreciate. Nothing like it. I know y'all hear me.

I haven't mastered the gift-giving operation quite yet but there are a few tips I'd love to share that I use to keep my gift shopping organized and easy.

Make a spreadsheet of everyone you need or want to purchase a gift for.

I am always a spreadsheet advocate, but more now than ever, I am using spreadsheets to organize every single part of my life – from gift giving to planning Friendsgiving to packing for a trip for work or fun. I have always been organized, but having Google Sheets in my life has taken me from "you are organized" to "wow OMG you are really organized."

Here are the columns I include: 
• Recipient
• Gift idea(s)
• Address (for shipping!)
• Amount to spend or already spent

When my gifts are purchased, I'll highlight the row green, so I know it is done and ready to go.

I also have a place to total up my budget/amount spent so I'm not surprised by my credit card statement in January, and I added a separate tab for gifts for Patrick and Theo, since – this won't surprise you – I am probably going to go over the top for both of them.

You don't have to know what you're buying everyone yet – but I promise it will help you keep on track if you start thinking about who you are buying for. It prevents the crazy scramble in December!

If you're shipping gifts this year, go ahead and get addresses for your recipients now.

If you are like me and your best friend has lived in three different apartments since 2016, you're going to want to confirm their address. I am shipping almost all of my gifts this year (or using email gift cards!) and am going ahead and confirming addresses so I don't have to stress about getting their address right and getting to the post office in time. And then keep those addresses in your handy, dandy spreadsheet. Boom!

I also have a few friends that use Postable to collect and keep addresses – you can post the link on your social media platforms or send it in an email to collect addresses, and Postable makes it easy to keep them updated. I haven't started using that yet but it also seems super handy, especially for weddings, holiday cards and gift giving!

Sign up for programs that earn or save you money when you shop.

Seriously. Don't make a single purchase online ('cause, let's be honest, that's where a lot of your gifts are coming from!) without using a program that gives you cash back for shopping online. I use a few different programs for various things – Ebates is my preferred cash back program! (I earned $7 recently for ordering a gift for a friend and clothes for myself! Trust me, it adds up.) 

I also love Swagbucks for earning gift cards and Honey for making sure I do not miss any coupon codes! (It saved me $20 on a purchase just the other day.)

Wrap things immediately after buying them.

OK, get behind me on this – I know it sounds crazy, and I know half the fun of wrapping presents is being surrounded by gifts and paper and tape and wildness when you have an hour before Christmas. But if you buy some great gifts when you see an Amazon Deal of the Day, don't just clap yourself on the back for shopping more than a month in advance! Wrap those puppies. Especially if you have a puppy – wrapping everything at once raises the risk that Theo is going to ingest something he shouldn't.

I haven't started shopping at all, but when I do, I will be wrapping as I go on the gifts I plan to deliver in person.


•••

Have you started thinking about holiday gift giving? 

I cooked a Thanksgiving dinner for 12 and didn't lose my cool – here's how

Monday, November 13, 2017
This year, I had the (maybe crazy) idea to host a Friendsgiving at our house for our friends. We invited about 15 of our friends – and 10 were able to make it! – to join us for a Friendsgiving event at our apartment and I set to menu planning. Cooking has become a really fun hobby for me lately, and I always love any chance to hit the grocery store.



But I knew that this would be a next-level experience than my usual dinners or the appetizers I've made for football viewing parties. I started prepping more than a week in advance, and I want to share what I learned / what worked best for me to keep things organized and in good shape in case you, too, are hosting a Friendsgiving or even Thanksgiving in your home this year. It is not easy but I do think it can be low stress and totally worth it.

Shoutout, by the way, to my boyfriend Patrick's mom, Andrea! Her Thanksgiving dinners are seriously amazing (and always huge!) and I always wondered how she kept things so organized and made sure everything made it into the oven on time. But I used her technique – spreadsheets! – and totally get it now.

Make a meal plan ahead of time.

God help you, don't wing it. Don't.

I used Google Sheets to meal plan. I split up what I was making and then linked to the recipes I planned to use so I wasn't scrambling through Pinterest at the last minute. This way I could read off to Patrick what I was planning to make and he could let me know what he thought, and I was ready to tell our friends what I was making too so they knew what gaps to fill in with whatever they were bringing.

(Because, yes, this was a potluck Friendsgiving. I'm just a control freak.)


Make sacrifices. You don't need to make everything from scratch.

I made three sacrifices for Friendsgiving, and one of them really hurt my soul, but I am really thankful that I did what I did for all three.

1) I was not going to make a turkey from scratch or dare to mess with a full turkey. 

Instead, we ordered a turkey breast from Honey Baked Ham and picked it up on the day of Friendsgiving. It was stress free and delicious. And I was not ready to learn how to make a turkey. I also don't have enough oven space!

2) I had planned to make stuffing from scratch. But then I saw that Trader Joe's had a stuffing mix in the store.

Sold! I do not like stuffing so I wasn't going to have it on the table, but Patrick does like stuffing so I didn't want to leave it out. I used the box mix and wasn't thrilled with how it turned out, but it was eaten and satisfied anyone's craving for stuffing, but I didn't have to kill myself prepping all of the fresh herbs and produce to get it ready. I also didn't have to make breadcrumbs from scratch, which I almost did. No thank you.

3) I did not make any desserts and instead bought some cookies from Trader Joe's.

And then, because I didn't make any desserts, our friends filled in my gaps and brought pies! It all worked out and the pies were, of course, delicious. I love making pumpkin pie but hey – it was one less thing for me to do.

Make your grocery list in a spreadsheet.

I knew I was going to have to go to at least three grocery stores (I ended up at four – damn you, Fresh Market, for your lack of asiago cheddar!) This was one of the best event management things I picked up from Andrea, who does make this intense of a grocery list when she's making a huge meal like Thanksgiving – it is so useful.

This was especially useful if you know you're going to have to hit multiple stores to get what you need. I couldn't make a specific list for each store because you never know when Fresh Market isn't going to have the cheese you need, so I organized it by category – basically organized by how stores are laid out! – and went from there. 

We also did our regular grocery shopping, so the list was super helpful to not miss a thing, and I had plenty of room to add things when I thought about it. Which was constant. I looked like a total dweeb with my clipboard and markers in the grocery aisle but hey. It worked.

Print your recipes out.

*clapping emoji x 100*

This was helpful for about 20 reasons, but here are a few: 

1) I like to annotate things and cross things off as I complete them.
2) I doubled a lot of recipes and therefore needed to adjust the totals.
3) I was making multiple things at once, and it would've been impossible to be switching back and forth between things on my laptop.
4) I also just didn't have the counter space for a laptop.
5) My hands were always covered in something gross, so not phone or iPad friendly, either.
6) I recruited a few of our guests at the end to help with some things and was able to just hand them a sheet of paper and let them go. 

Make a schedule in Google Sheets and print that out, too.

Jokes were made about my schedule, but damn if I didn't get dinner on the table by 3:40 p.m., only 10 minutes past my scheduled time – and my first Thanksgiving dinner ever, too. I am nothing if not hyper organized. 

On the morning of, I added a few more things to my schedule – that I needed to boil macaroni for the mac and cheese at 2 p.m., that Theo needed to go out at 2:15 p.m., etc. The schedule was pretty much mandatory to make sure I was on track. 

Do all the prep you can the night before, or earlier if possible.

With my printed out recipes, I was able to identify all of the produce that I needed to wash and cut the night before. I also am a big fan of recipes that can be made ahead of time, so I made both appetizers – the salsa and the pepperoni pinwheels – the night before so they were ready to go at 2:30 p.m. I could not have served hot appetizers! It wouldn't have worked. So I guess that was a "sacrifice" too, but the salsa and the pinwheels are my go-tos.

All of the produce was washed and ready for me to start cooking on Sunday morning. I also made sure all of my ingredients were laid out – measured out, too, if I could – and that my toppings for the baked potatoes were chopped up and ready.

The recipes I used:

Macaroni and cheese bites (PSA: these did not turn out well for us. tasted great, did not retain their cup shape!)

•••

Have you ever hosted Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving at your house? How did it go?


5 tips for designing a resume that will stand out on every desk

Wednesday, November 08, 2017
I think I have mentioned this on the blog before, but one of my favorite things to do in my free time is help friends with their resumes. I can design a resume in my sleep at this point! If you subscribe to my newsletter, you know that I read a lot of articles about how to put your best foot forward in your resume. I consider myself an amateur expert in resumes.

Obviously, I am not an expert expert. But I have designed a lot of resumes for people who end up with really great jobs and internships. (Let me be clear: those people are awesome, and they deserve their great jobs and internships! But having a professional and appropriate resume is an important cog in the machine of getting them the work they deserve.)

I have a few rules for designing a resume that I wanted to share with y'all now.


1. Use a program you're comfortable with.

There are a couple of different options when it comes to designing and formatting your resume. Using a simple word processor, like Microsoft Word, whatever app is downloaded on a Mac or a Google Doc, is always safe — especially if you're not comfortable with more complicated programs. If you are comfortable with the Adobe suite, I fully recommend using InDesign. InDesign makes sure things are lined up and makes changing and removing/adding things really simple. Other people I know have used Illustrator, and I really only recommend using Illustrator for your resume if you are planning on using graphic elements.

If you'd like to be a little more creative or have more flexibility with your resume design but do not have InDesign or know how to use it, try Canva! It's a free online software that almost anyone can use. I've redesigned several resumes on it for friends.

The most important part of this: If you're going to use a program, make sure it's a program that you can access regularly and easily. Don't make your resume with InDesign if you only can use InDesign on a school computer that you have access to Monday through Friday, or that you won't be able to use after you graduate. I have the Creative Suite on my laptop, so I can fix my resume or add things to it or completely redesign it whenever, if I am so inclined.

2. Use one to two simple fonts, max. Avoid scripts. Use different sizes, styles and spacing.

My favorite font to use for resumes, hands down, is Myriad Pro – I usually use Condensed or Semi-Condensed, but this isn't a consistently available font. Other good sans serif choices: Calibri, Droid Sans, Verdana, Trebuchet, Arial Narrow. If you feel like a serif font is more your style, try Cambria, Droid Serif, Times New Roman, Georgia and Garamond. Droid Serif is my favorite serif for resumes.

Get comfortable with changing the size or bold of your fonts, too. I like to use a combination of bold, regular and condensed versions of Myriad Pro for different headers and body text. I also change the spacing of my font in my headers.

You want to avoid two things specifically with fonts:

No. 1: Nothing stands out on your page because you use the exact same font throughout. I've seen too many resumes that are completely all Times New Roman, size 11. It's hard to skim and see what you really consider is important. No. 2: It is totally wild and crazy because you're using several fonts that are eclectic or hard to read.

3. Keep it simple, unless you're a graphic designer.

I am not a graphic designer. As far as fields go, mine is pretty straightforward and traditional – design elements do not impress people in journalism. Because they aren't needed. If you're a graphic designer and are trying to show a potential employer your design chops, you can pretty much ignore my rules of resume design.

But other than the field of graphic design … keep it simple. Design elements are only really appropriate if the job you're applying to is creative — if you're looking to work at a newspaper or in business or marketing or another more traditional field, simplicity is important and looks more professional.

The one place where a little creativity is more acceptable than other places is in your header — and even then, it depends on the job you're applying for and the field you want to get into. Using your logo or a different font, maybe a simple accent color, can help make your resume stand out. But again, make sure it's simple and not too loud.

4. Emphasize consistency in every single detail.

If you use bullet points, use them consistently throughout. If you're going to explain each job or experience in a sentence, do that for every job or experience. If the font you use to describe one job is 12 pt., use 12 pt. in the other job descriptions too. And for goodness' sake, make sure your spacing is consistent throughout, too.

Consistency matters so much in a resume, both in content and design — especially if you consider how few minutes a hiring manager might have to spend on your resume. They might notice your entire list of skills at the bottom but they also might notice a huge discrepancy if your columns are out of line or your font size changes halfway through. That makes you look sloppy or like you lack an attention to detail that might be necessary in the job you're applying for – even if you are perfect for it in every other way.

5. Make sure your name stands out at the top.

I mentioned using a different font, an accent color or your logo to make your name stand out at the top of your resume — but mainly, you should just make sure your name is big, bold and easy to read across the top of your resume. Mine is very large, but that's a stylistic choice. I definitely recommend using at least a 22 or 24 weight font.

And make sure your important and most relevant contact information comes right after your name. On a lot of websites, you'll see they preach the importance of including a cell and home phone, your home address and your email address. I have some opinions on that: Your cell phone and email address are important, keep those, but scratch your physical address. No one needs that anymore. Replace that with your LinkedIn, website URL or Twitter handle, if any of those are appropriate to your career path.


•••

If you are in need of some resume help, don't hesitate to reach out! You can email me at thedailypaigeblog@gmail.com with a copy of your current resume for a free critique or comment all of your resume questions below! If I get enough frequently asked questions, I will do a post answering all of them!


what I'm reading in November

Monday, November 06, 2017
I did a lot of reading in October, thanks to Dewey's 24-Hour Readathon! I didn't read for a full 24 hours (more like 6 hours, total) but I did sit down and focus on my list of books that I have been wanting to read and cracked a few of them open.

I'm mixing it up a little in how I do my usual reading list post! I wanted to share not only the books I read in October but also the books I bought – because sometimes it takes me a while to actually read the books that I buy, but they're still worth sharing with you.

WHAT I READ IN OCTOBER

HOW TO FIND LOVE IN A BOOKSHOP by Veronica Henry. I loved this sweet love story about a girl and her father's bookstore, trying to keep it alive after his death, and all of the people who were part of her late father's life. 
WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI by Sandhya Menon. I had mixed feelings about this even though I was really thrilled about its premise, but mostly, I felt like Dimple was too frustrating and Rishi was too understanding of how frustrating she was. It was a fine read but definitely not a favorite.
• EIGHT HUNDRED GRAPES by Laura Dave. I loved HELLO SUNSHINE by Laura Dave and read it in one sitting on a plane ride, but I didn't care for this novel nearly as much. 
• TURTLES ALL THE WAY DOWN by John Green. Wow, wow, wow, WOW. This was quite possibly my favorite novel by John Green yet, which is saying a lot, because TFIOS was an unforgettably great read. But this was even better.
• ALL RIGHTS RESERVED by Gregory Scott Katsoulis. This could've been so much better, but I had a few big issues with it. The premise is really cool and compelling... the main character, not so much. 
• ALL THE DIRTY PARTS by Daniel Handler. I bought this because Daniel Handler is Lemony Snicket, and I knew this couldn't be bad. It was certainly weird. I wouldn't call it relatable. But the style of storytelling was unique and compelling, and I blew through it in one night. 

I also bought and read the newest Pioneer Woman cookbook – THE PIONEER WOMAN COOKS: COME AND GET IT! – but I don't know how I feel about counting cookbooks in my book total.

I started WICKED LIKE A WILDFIRE and have only an hour and a half left of audio in WHAT HAPPENED, but I didn't get far enough on those to finish. Maybe I should stop making a "what I want to read" list each month because I rarely stick to it! It all depends on my mood.

BOOKS I BOUGHT IN OCTOBER

AFTER THE ECLIPSE by Sarah Perry
TURTLES ALL THE WAY DOWN by John Green
THE PIONEER WOMAN COOKS: COME AND GET IT! by Ree Drummond
THE HIVE by Gill Hornby
A WINDOW OPENS by Elisabeth Egan 

I skipped my Book of the Month for November because none of the book choices really stood out to me. Here's hoping December's options are a lot more interesting! 

BOOKS I WANT TO READ IN NOVEMBER

I cannot wait another second to finish WONDER by R.J. Palacio. I started it at the end of October and it is so sweet and pure and good, and I definitely have to finish it before I see the movie. 

It's also about time I finished LORD OF SHADOWS by Cassandra Clare. (Which makes me think about getting into some of the other books she's written, but I'm just not so sure. I feel like reading LADY MIDNIGHT and LOS has spoiled a lot of the other books for me. Anyone a Clare fan have advice for me?)

I also want to finish WHAT HAPPENED, GIRLS MADE OF SNOW AND GLASS, WICKED LIKE A WILDFIRE and THE COLOR PROJECT, all books I started in the last couple of months and haven't finished yet. 

So many books, so little time. 

BOOKS I WANT TO BUY IN NOVEMBER

I budget $50 each month for books which is not enough, and I always spend way more than that. But a few books that I definitely want to buy this month are...

It is a YA-filled month, that's for certain.

FOREST OF A THOUSAND LANTERNS
• THE GLASS SPARE
• WILD BEAUTY
• SHADOW CROWN
• HER BODY AND OTHER PARTIES
• RENEGADES
• WARCROSS
• FAR FROM THE TREE

•••

What did you read in October, and what are you reading in November? What am I missing out on?

[review] Stitch Fix, October 2017

Friday, November 03, 2017
This is my fifth Stitch Fix since October 2016 (I took a very long hiatus). I got an email last week offering to waive the $25 Stitch Fix fee and decided I would give Stitch Fix another shot, even though the last Fix I received before I decided (angrily!) to give it up was absolutely awful and not at all what I was looking for.


If you've never tried Stitch Fix, it is a subscription service that selects clothing for you based on your social media profiles and style profile. You get to try on the pieces and decide what you'll keep and return, and you'll be charged a $25 styling fee plus the cost of the items you keep. If you keep everything, you get a 25 percent discount.

Interested in signing up? Click here.

This time, I made sure to be very specific in my style profile (I took the quiz over just in case) and in my message to my stylist, and I dedicated a good hour to pinning things that were totally me

Disclaimer: I may use affiliate links in this post.

41 Hawthorn Aisla Split Neck Tie Sleeve Pullover, $64

I will do a lot of things and pay a lot of money for a good sweater. I would say out of everything in my closet, the one thing I will pay full price for usually is a good sweater – I won't even pay full price for a pair of boots, my favorite vice.  So I joyously tried on this soft and comfortable charcoal grey sweater with adorable sleeve detail – I love the bell sleeve AND the bow! Neither detail is too overdone – I like to be low key trendy when I'm being trendy – so I can keep wearing this sweater long after the statement and ruffle sleeves are out. I'm already worried about washing instructions for this one but I know I will wear it again and again and again.

Verdict: Kept

41 Hawthorn Jahana Cargo Vest, $68

I love this vest and I've been wanting to add a cargo vest to my closet for a while. This one is great quality and has a nice hood and two nicely sized pockets, so I'm happy. This is definitely something my stylist noticed I was eyeing when she checked out my Pinterest profile, so I'm glad I spent some time pinning things. I'm surprised I didn't receive more dark wash denim and black-and-white striped t-shirts because that seems to be all that I pinned besides a utility vest.

Verdict: Kept

Articles of Society Tiana Skinny Jean, $64

I am just so unsure about these jeans. As far as the fit goes, they're perfect, and they're about the same length as my current favorite jeans (I've never found a pair of jeans that wasn't too long or too short on me, but this is as close to perfect as I can get) with a little bit of extra fabric at my ankle. I would love a pair of jeans that didn't need cuffing, but that doesn't seem to be in the cards for me. My issue with these skinny jeans is that they're black, and Theo is furry, and I always end up covered in lint. I have lint brushes, but I hate walking around looking like a furball exploded on my clothes. For that reason, I rarely, rarely, rarely wear black pants that aren't leggings. 

Verdict: Kept

REV Niki Double Ruffle Sleeve Knit Sweatshirt, $58

This is a mighty expensive sweatshirt. I fell in love with the dusty rose color and the fun sleeves when I saw this on my Stitch Fix profile (before I received my box, I definitely peeked). When I tried it on, I was a little bummed – I expected it to be soft and it is not that soft, but it's a fun and comfy sweatshirt that I know I will wear a lot this fall and winter.

Verdict: Kept

41 Hawthorn Selmin Woven Back Knit Top, $58

This is the one piece that I was the most meh about it in my entire box, but when I put it on, I was pretty pleased with it! The back is super cute – I love stripes and kelly green! – and it's soft and tunic-length, so even though $58 is a little crazy for what is basically a t-shirt, it's worth it with the 25 percent discount on the box.

Verdict: Kept

•••

The total value of my Stitch Fix was $312. Remember – if you keep everything in the box, you'll save 25 percent. (Often times, if I'm on the fence with one or two items, I go ahead and buy everything because the price ends up being the same.) Your $25 styling fee is also put towards the total of your box. 

In this case, I would save $78 by buying all five pieces and would only save $64 if I sent the black jeans back, so I am buying everything in my Fix this time.

Have you tried Stitch Fix or another styling service? What were your experiences?

my November goals + how I did on my October goals

Wednesday, November 01, 2017
IT. IS. MY. BIRTHDAY. MONTH.

November is my hands-down favorite month of the year for a few reasons. I already did an ode to November in my Monday newsletter but I'm back again with my five reasons for loving November more than any other month.

WHY I LOVE NOVEMBER

1) By November, the weather usually has its act together, and it is really, truly, 100 percent fall. Sometimes, a little winter creeps in, but it is usually fall.
2) I can eat soup for every single meal and not roast to death.
3) Everything starts being cheaper in November. Have y'all noticed that? I know Black Friday is when all the sales start but once November 1 hits the sales everywhere get better. I get better deals before Black Friday than I do on Black Friday most of the time! (And we all know how I am with shopping.)
4) Thanksgiving is the best holiday. No question.
5) MY BIRTHDAY!

And this year is the best year of all because only every few years do my birthday and Thanksgiving coincide. Watch me happy dance all over the place this month. I can't get over it.

HOW I DID IN OCTOBER

Read 5 books. I checked a few had-to-read books off of my list this October and read six books this month. I finished ALL THE DIRTY PARTS by Daniel Handler, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED by Gregory Scott Katsoulis, TURTLES ALL THE WAY DOWN by John Green, EIGHT HUNDRED GRAPES by Laura Dave, WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI by Sandhya Menon and HOW TO FIND LOVE IN A BOOKSHOP by Veronica Henry. It's very rare for me to have two five-star reads in one month because 1) I haven't been reading that much lately and 2) I am incredibly picky and 3) I often waste time on books I know I'm not into because I hate putting down books that I'm not liking.

Drink a glass of water every morning as soon as I wake up. I did not do this every single day (there are 31 days in October, that would be a lot!) but I will say that I made a conscious effort to drink more water every day and started refilling my 24 oz. Tervis Tumbler at least twice a day during the week. On weekends, I'm worse and drink more soda and coffee, but I try to drink one 24 oz. tumbler of water for every iced coffee from Dunkin. 

Blog every Monday, Wednesday and Friday each week. I am pretty excited because October was the first full month where I decided I would blog three times a week instead of five times a week, and it was a more successful system for me that I was able to achieve in October!

Map out my chapter outline for NaNoWriMo. I did not outline my chapters for NaNo, but I did spend about 30 minutes (at least) each day planning my novel 

MY GOALS FOR NOVEMBER

• Read 5 books in November. I read five books in October so I am hoping I will be able to do the same in November, especially since I will have some days off at the end of the month for my Thanksgiving vacation! I have so many books on my shelf that I am dying to read.

• Start and finish National Novel Writing Month by writing 50,000 words in 30 days. This goal is so important to me. I am so excited to start NaNoWriMo this year and to hopefully (hopefully!) win. I haven't won since 2012 so it would be huge for me to do it this year!

• Drink 64 ounces of water every day, and limit myself to one caffeinated/non-water beverage a day. Drinking a glass of water every morning when I wake up is the goal, but if I drink 64 ounces a day, I'll be happy! My Corksicle tumbler and my Tervis tumbler are both 24 ounces so if I drink three of those, I will be more than set.

• Blog every Monday, Wednesday and Friday each week. I want to keep this up in November, even though (or in spite of) this month is my busiest every year, with NaNoWriMo, my birthday, Thanksgiving and preparing for Christmas. (Because I do start early.) I am starting by getting ahead and trying to draft two or three posts every weekend so I'm ahead of the curve when I can be!

• Turn my phone off (or put it away) one hour before bedtime. This was something I started about halfway through October but was inconsistent with. My bedtime is not very consistent but I do try to go to bed between 11 p.m. and 12:30 a.m. (which is not consistent enough for the internet advice givers). So, I've set an alarm for an hour before that to turn off or put away my phone. I can read, take a shower or fold laundry, but I am not touching my phone (or laptop, for that matter) before bed. That's the plan anyway.


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Do you have any goals for this month?


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