January 2019 Favourites

January 2019 Favourites

It’s been a few months since we had a standard monthly favourites post, but I’m thrilled to be back with my January 2019 favourites! This post is a bit belated, too, but I wanted to share it still–and hopefully give you a few ideas to bring into your own life! Catch up on our past months’ posts here, then read on for this month’s.

This post may contain affiliate links.  Please see our disclosure for more information!

WEARING:

With the incessant cold we’ve had here in Pennsylvania, plus an assortment of health issues, fuzzy socks have been my most-utilised piece of clothing for the month!

USING:

I’m well into my 2019 bullet journal and it’s working wonderfully so far!

LISTENING:

I’ve listened to remarkably little music this month, which is rather concerning, honestly!

EATING:

Early on in the month, I made some vegan copycat “Hamburger Helper” that was to die for–it reminded me so much of the nostalgic easy meal from when I was young, with none of the cruelty!

Another pasta dish, and another shot of nostalgia: my mom made a childhood favourite, stuffed shells, for the whole family and made me my own little tray of vegan shells with Gardein mince! I may have finished the tray that same night.

Looking for a lighter version? Check out our recipe for salad stuffed shells!

DRINKING:

Besides my usual liquid diet of Dunkin’ iced tea, McDonald’s Coke, and plenty of coffee, I had a magical discovery in the realm of drinks towards the end of this month: the new blueberry acai Diet Coke is AMAZING with a bit of vanilla rum!

READING:

Although I’ve set the lofty goal of reading 100 books this year, I’m woefully behind after being sick most of this month, and playing catch-up on work when I wasn’t.  I finished the first two books in Collins Hemingways’ The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen series) and read an advance copy of  Wanda Deglane’s Lady Saturn for a blurb (check out the reviews of all three on Pencils & Pages!).  I’ve got some more reviews lined up soon and I’m hoping to add in more reading for reading’s sake in February, too!

WATCHING:

I finally finished Kitchen Nightmares this month, as well as nine of the ten episodes of Castle Rock.  I started watching Tidying Up, too–as a long-time Marie Kondo fan, it’s a must-see!

LEARNING:

I’ve done little in this category throughout the month, which is definitely something I’d like to work on in February.  Lots of learning through experience, but very little actual learning, whether through Duolingo or courses.

WORKING:

This has been one of my busiest months yet in terms of work!

At my day job, I’ve been trying to earn a bit extra each week to pay off some extra debt, one of my top goals for this year.  Being sick so frequently this month definitely got in the way there, but I did decently all things considered!

Writing:

It was a big month in terms of writing, especially.  Thanks to lots of bed rest, a whole lot of preparation, and some amazing publications opening their submissions this month, I submitted more than 250 pieces to over 65 magazines and other projects!

This is definitely a bit outrageous, but I’ve legitimately enjoyed it.  I take time for each submission to read through previous issues where applicable, study what they’re looking for, and pick the best pieces possible.  I’m still not the best at gauging what will be an especially good fit, but I have gotten so much better!

I was thrilled to start off the year with quite a few acceptances too (and lots of rejections–more than 25% of my year goal of 100!).  I’ve had poems accepted and published with Royal Rose Mag, Brave Voices Magazine, and Marias at Sampaguitas, and accepted and forthcoming with Anti-Heroin Chic, Elephants Never, Peeking Cat Poetry, Kissing Dynamite, Neologism, and the She Will Speak Series.

And that’s just from January!  I’ve got pieces forthcoming from 2018 acceptances still, plus lots of submissions pending.  I can’t wait to see how much more comes as the year goes forward!

Late in the month, I also started sending out the manuscript for my micro-chapbook, Boleyn, as well as my second chapbook, How My Cat Saved My Life and Other Poems.

I started an anthology project, Stanzas from the Silence, for which I’m trying to find a home.  We’ll hopefully be taking submissions soon!

As for Nightingale & Sparrow, our submissions period for our inaugural issue, flight, ended on 31 January.  We’ve had so many amazing submissions and I’m so excited to share the final product soon!  We’ve also been sharing a series of micropoems on social media in preparation for the issue, so be sure to check those out too.

Blogging:

Here on For the Sake of Good Taste, we featured our first guest post of the year just last week, which was super exciting!

I’ve also started looking for a few early readers for Swap It!, which should be coming your way before you know it.  If you’re interested in reviewing an advance copy and haven’t yet reached out, please do!

Another big blogging milestone this month was the launch of Pencils & Pages, the new bookish-themed off-shoot of both For the Sake of Good Taste and my own writing endeavours.  Now you’ll find book reviews alongside writing insights over on the blog at my writing website!  This was a big step in FTSOGT really claiming it’s place as a vegan lifestyle blog and it’s been amazing so far.

POSTS THIS MONTH:

2018 Goals: Final Check-In

Christmas Gifts

2019 Blog Goals

2019 Goals

Life Update

2019 Bullet Journal

Fruits & Veggies for Dogs

The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen, Vol. I Review

The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen, Vol. II Review

January 2019 Favourites

WHAT WERE YOUR JANUARY 2019 FAVOURITES? STAY TUNED FOR FEBRUARY’S!

January 2019 Favourites

marriageofmissjaneaustenvolii

Book Review: The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen, Vol. II

I’m thrilled to be a part of the blog tour with HFVBT for the second of Collins Hemingway’s The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen novels.  Today, I’m sharing my thoughts about Vol. II!

Be sure to check out Vol. I’s review and to check out some of the other lovely book bloggers in the schedule at the bottom of this post. And be sure to visit our HFVBT tag for more fantastic historical fiction reads!

I received a copy of The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen, Vol. II through Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for review purposes. As always, this review reflects only my honest opinions on the book.

The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen Vol. II
by Collins Hemingway

Publication Date: August 8, 2016
eBook & Paperback; 332 Pages
ISBN-13: 978-1535444958

 

 

Jane Austen Lived a Quiet, Single Life-Or Did She?

Tradition holds that Jane Austen lived a proper, contemplative, unmarried life. But what if she wed a man as passionate and intelligent as she-and the marriage remained secret for 200 years?

The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen resolves the biggest mystery of Austen’s life-the “lost years” of her twenties-of which historians know virtually nothing.

• Why the enduring rumors of a lost love or tragic affair?

• Why, afterward, did the vivacious Austen prematurely put on “the cap of middle age” and close off any thoughts of finding love?

• Why, after her death, did her beloved sister destroy her letters and journals?

The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen trilogy answers these questions through a riveting love affair based on the history of the times and the details of Austen’s own life.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

My Review

After reading the first novel in this series, I was excited to continue and picked up the second within moments of finishing.  I’ve always loved a good “what if?” when it comes to little-known aspects of history, especially those I’ve been able to study.  Jane Austen has been one of my favourite authors since elementary school and I’ve absolutely loved watching her come alive on the page through this series.  Hemingway truly provides a unique imagining of Austen as a character, firmly based in the image of Austen as a real figure.

Motherhood within her novels has been a subject I’ve touched upon in my own study, so reading this account of the character of Jane’s own experiences with it was of particular interest to me, personally.  Jane’s interactions with her mother and mother-in-law and with her own child and the children around her (particularly her nieces) are absolutely insightful.

Perhaps my favourite aspect of this novel, and, indeed, the series as a whole, from what I’ve read, is the history and references woven through the story.  This is truly a work of historical fiction–not just due to it’s being set within a bygone era or that it’s based on Austen, but in that it tangles itself into the historical narrative beautifully, filling the gaps where Austen’s “lost years” have left scholars searching for answers.

The appearance of other critical figures, like Coleridge, improve not only the story, but the reader’s experience.  I found myself keeping an eye out for these notable characters like one watches for references in a Disney-Pixar movie or for ghosts in The Haunting of Hill House.  These “Easter eggs” added another layer of enjoyment to reading this novel and emphasised the history behind it, alongside rather than despite the fiction.

Slavery and the debates surrounding abolition are a particularly heavy plot point in this volume of the series.  In this, Jane’s passion comes alive as if she is a character in one of her own novels–it’s easy to imagine Lizzy Bennet reacting similarly to similar events and experiences.

Overall, this novel was quite an enjoyable read and, while I haven’t got a review of the third volume of The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen queued up, I may have to find the book myself, if only to find out just how the story reaches its end.

Praise for The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen Series

“A skillful portrayal of an early nineteenth-century literary icon takes this historical romance on an imaginative journey of the soul. … The adventure of a true romantic partnership and all the excitement that the nineteenth century had to offer. … [The] novel invites you to linger, to savor, and to enjoy. … Makes for wonderful reading. … A Jane that lives and breathes on the page.”—Claire Foster, Foreword Reviews, 4 stars

“Hemingway captures the energy of the times, while also writing with the irony and sly humor of Austen herself. … A strikingly real Jane Austen fully engaged in the turbulent times. … She is a living, breathing presence. … [He] displays a notable ability to recreate time and place. … A lively, compelling read, [a] sobering but moving conclusion.” —Blueink Starred Review

“An enjoyable novel in an imaginative, well-researched series. … A well-researched work of historical fiction … [with] sweet moments and intriguing historical insights. … An incredibly moving portrait of a woman facing loss and love.” —Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

Whether his subject is literature, history, or science, Collins Hemingway has a passion for the art of creative investigation. For him, the most compelling fiction deeply explores the heart and soul of its characters, while also engaging them in the complex and often dangerous world in which they have a stake. He wants to explore all that goes into people’s lives and everything that makes them complete though fallible human beings. His fiction is shaped by the language of the heart and an abiding regard for courage in the face of adversity.

As a nonfiction book author, Hemingway has worked alongside some of the world’s thought leaders on topics as diverse as corporate culture and ethics; the Internet and mobile technology; the ins and outs of the retail trade; and the cognitive potential of the brain. Best known for the #1 best-selling book on business and technology, Business @ the Speed of Thought, which he coauthored with Bill Gates, he has earned a reputation for tackling challenging subjects with clarity and insight, writing for the nontechnical but intelligent reader.

Hemingway has published shorter nonfiction on topics including computer technology, medicine, and aviation, and he has written award-winning journalism.

Published books include The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen trilogy, Business @ the Speed of Thought, with Bill Gates, Built for Growth, with Arthur Rubinfeld, What Happy Companies Know, with Dan Baker and Cathy Greenberg, Maximum Brainpower, with Shlomo Breznitz, and The Fifth Wave, with Robert Marcus.

Hemingway lives in Bend, Oregon, with his wife, Wendy. Together they have three adult sons and three granddaughters. He supports the Oregon Community Foundation and other civic organizations engaged in conservation and social services in Central Oregon.

For more information please visit Collins Hemingway’s website and blog. You can also find him on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, January 14
Review at Coffee and Ink

Wednesday, January 16
Review & Excerpt at The Book Junkie Reads

Thursday, January 17
Feature at What Is That Book About

Friday, January 18
Review at Rainy Day Reviews

Monday, January 21
Feature at Donna’s Book Blog

Tuesday, January 22
Excerpt at T’s Stuff
Interview at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, January 23
Review & Guest Post at To Read, Or Not to Read

Friday, January 25
Review at View from the Birdhouse
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Monday, January 28
Review at For the Sake of Good Taste

Tuesday, January 29
Guest Post at Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen

Wednesday, January 30
Review at Library of Clean Reads

Friday, February 1
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective

Saturday, February 2
Review at Jorie Loves a Story

Sunday, February 3
Review at Bri’s Book Nook

Monday, February 4
Review at Amy’s Booket List

Tuesday, February 5
Review at Maiden of the Pages

Wednesday, February 6
Feature at The Lit Bitch
Interview at Bookish Rantings

Thursday, February 7
Feature at CelticLady’s Reviews

Friday, February 8
Review at Book Reviews from Canada

Saturday, February 9
Interview at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour we will be giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on February 9th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen Vol II

the marriage of miss jane austen vol i

Book Review: The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen, Vol. I

I’m thrilled to be a part of the blog tour with HFVBT for the second of Collins Hemingway’s The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen novels.  Today, I’m sharing my thoughts about Vol. I in anticipation of next week’s review of Vol. II!

Be sure to check back for Vol. II’s review and to check out some of the other lovely book bloggers in the schedule at the bottom of this post. And be sure to visit our HFVBT tag for more fantastic historical fiction reads!

I received a copy of The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen, Vol. I through Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for review purposes. As always, this review reflects only my honest opinions on the book.

The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen Vol. I
by Collins Hemingway

Publication Date: June 20, 2015
eBook & Paperback; 200 Pages
ISBN-13: 978-1504911023

 

Jane Austen Lived a Quiet, Single Life-Or Did She?

Tradition holds that Jane Austen lived a proper, contemplative, unmarried life. But what if she wed a man as passionate and intelligent as she-and the marriage remained secret for 200 years?

The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen resolves the biggest mystery of Austen’s life-the “lost years” of her twenties-of which historians know virtually nothing.

• Why the enduring rumors of a lost love or tragic affair?

• Why, afterward, did the vivacious Austen prematurely put on “the cap of middle age” and close off any thoughts of finding love?

• Why, after her death, did her beloved sister destroy her letters and journals?

The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen trilogy answers these questions through a riveting love affair based on the history of the times and the details of Austen’s own life.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

My Review

This novel caught my attention early on for some personal connections:  for new readers to the blog (welcome!), I was lucky enough to live in Bath for some time (and I liked it far more than Miss Jane Austen did).  I studied Jane Austen there and visited many of the same streets and spots than Jane and Cassandra do while in Bath with their family, so I quickly felt a kinship to Jane as a character.

Even more striking, again, from a personal standpoint, was an early series of scenes involving a hot air balloon scandal.  One of my favourite memories of living in Bath was looking out my kitchen window one afternoon to see a hot air balloon floating by.  It seemed like such a novelty to me, even in the modern day, so I could instantly relate to the wonder felt by Bath’s citizens as they saw their first balloon, though I related much less to the adventure that comes thereafter (I won’t spoil too much detail here, for those who will pick up their own copy!).

I’ve heard countless rumours of alleged affairs and romances over my years of studying Austen but hadn’t given them much thought before picking up The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen.   I hadn’t given them much thought before the novel, yet it truly brought this relationship between Jane and Ashton to life.  Even as Jane discusses her own novels, the story is inherently reminiscent of the stories she herself told–the pragmatic, yet passionate approach of Jane Austen the character would be just as at home in Pride and Prejudice as it is in this first book of The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen series.

Praise for The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen Series

“A skillful portrayal of an early nineteenth-century literary icon takes this historical romance on an imaginative journey of the soul. … The adventure of a true romantic partnership and all the excitement that the nineteenth century had to offer. … [The] novel invites you to linger, to savor, and to enjoy. … Makes for wonderful reading. … A Jane that lives and breathes on the page.”—Claire Foster, Foreword Reviews, 4 stars

“Hemingway captures the energy of the times, while also writing with the irony and sly humor of Austen herself. … A strikingly real Jane Austen fully engaged in the turbulent times. … She is a living, breathing presence. … [He] displays a notable ability to recreate time and place. … A lively, compelling read, [a] sobering but moving conclusion.” —Blueink Starred Review

“An enjoyable novel in an imaginative, well-researched series. … A well-researched work of historical fiction … [with] sweet moments and intriguing historical insights. … An incredibly moving portrait of a woman facing loss and love.” —Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

Whether his subject is literature, history, or science, Collins Hemingway has a passion for the art of creative investigation. For him, the most compelling fiction deeply explores the heart and soul of its characters, while also engaging them in the complex and often dangerous world in which they have a stake. He wants to explore all that goes into people’s lives and everything that makes tThe hem complete though fallible human beings. His fiction is shaped by the language of the heart and an abiding regard for courage in the face of adversity.

As a nonfiction book author, Hemingway has worked alongside some of the world’s thought leaders on topics as diverse as corporate culture and ethics; the Internet and mobile technology; the ins and outs of the retail trade; and the cognitive potential of the brain. Best known for the #1 best-selling book on business and technology, Business @ the Speed of Thought, which he coauthored with Bill Gates, he has earned a reputation for tackling challenging subjects with clarity and insight, writing for the nontechnical but intelligent reader.

Hemingway has published shorter nonfiction on topics including computer technology, medicine, and aviation, and he has written award-winning journalism.

Published books include The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen trilogy, Business @ the Speed of Thought, with Bill Gates, Built for Growth, with Arthur Rubinfeld, What Happy Companies Know, with Dan Baker and Cathy Greenberg, Maximum Brainpower, with Shlomo Breznitz, and The Fifth Wave, with Robert Marcus.

Hemingway lives in Bend, Oregon, with his wife, Wendy. Together they have three adult sons and three granddaughters. He supports the Oregon Community Foundation and other civic organizations engaged in conservation and social services in Central Oregon.

For more information please visit Collins Hemingway’s website and blog. You can also find him on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, January 14
Review at Coffee and Ink

Wednesday, January 16
Review & Excerpt at The Book Junkie Reads

Thursday, January 17
Feature at What Is That Book About

Friday, January 18
Review at Rainy Day Reviews

Monday, January 21
Feature at Donna’s Book Blog

Tuesday, January 22
Excerpt at T’s Stuff
Interview at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, January 23
Review & Guest Post at To Read, Or Not to Read

Friday, January 25
Review at View from the Birdhouse
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Monday, January 28
Review at For the Sake of Good Taste

Tuesday, January 29
Guest Post at Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen

Wednesday, January 30
Review at Library of Clean Reads

Friday, February 1
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective

Saturday, February 2
Review at Jorie Loves a Story

Sunday, February 3
Review at Bri’s Book Nook

Monday, February 4
Review at Amy’s Booket List

Tuesday, February 5
Review at Maiden of the Pages

Wednesday, February 6
Feature at The Lit Bitch
Interview at Bookish Rantings

Thursday, February 7
Feature at CelticLady’s Reviews

Friday, February 8
Review at Book Reviews from Canada

Saturday, February 9
Interview at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour we will be giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on February 9th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen Vol II

Fruits and Veggies for dogs

12 Great Fruits and Veggies for Dogs: A Guest Post by Dave from My Pet Academia

We’re so excited to welcome Dave from My Pet Academia to the blog today sharing some of the best fruits and veggies you can share with your dog! 

Giving fruits and veggies to our furry friends keeps them healthier—the vitamins make them more resilient and keep their fur shiny.  What’s more, fruits and veggies make amazing treats for dogs.

We all know a doggy or two who go wild at the sign of apples or carrots.  But what else can you share as an afternoon snack with your best friend?

Protein is crucial—but fruit makes an excellent snack!

Before we get started, there’s a few things you need to keep in mind.

  • Throw away the pit, seeds, stem and leaves as they can be a choking hazard and/or contain cyanide which is toxic.
  • Moderation is key, serve in small amounts.  Too much can do more harm than good.
  • Cut the fruit or vegetable in small pieces to avoid potential choking risks.

1.  Apples—keep that poop solid and regular!

Apples are the most common fruit that dogs enjoy. They are low in fat, which makes them an ideal snack, even for senior dogs.

Furthermore, they are high in fiber, which can keep the digestive system more regular. This is especially important for overweight dogs and puppies.

But there’s more to apples than meets the eye! They are rich in vitamins C and A, which are crucial for maintaining bone density and tissue health.

However, keep in mind that fruit and vegetable seeds, as well as huge chunks of fruit, can be a choking hazard. So clean and cut everything neatly before giving your dog a treat.

2.  Bananas—a great punch of potassium for healthy kidneys!

Everyone knows that potassium in bananas will maintain the kidney and heart health in dogs. But bananas are also rich in magnesium and vitamin C, which promote bone growth.

That makes them perfect for dogs of all ages. But it’s crucial that you don’t go overboard with banana snacks.

High levels of sugar and carbohydrates mean that this snack should be given as an occasional treat and in small portions. An inch or two of a banana, sliced in small pieces, is more than enough to make your furry friend both healthy and happy.

3.  Blueberries—the most powerful antioxidants

Two or three blueberries every now and again will keep your doggy’s urinary tract safe and sound from infections. What’s more, blueberries are potent antioxidants, and they prevent the damage of cells and tissue.

A rich source of iron, zinc, and selenium, blueberries will help in cancer prevention. Moreover, they also give a huge boost to the metabolism and the immune system, as they have high levels of vitamin C and fiber.

4.  Oranges–flush the toxins out of the system

We all know oranges are rich in vitamin C, but did you know they also have high levels of potassium, folic acid, calcium, iron, and fiber? These minerals and vitamins will boost the immune system and prevent diseases and illnesses.

However, bear in mind that oranges can be dangerous as well. Only the flesh of the orange is safe for animal consumption — everything else contains poisonous oils.

Furthermore, big portions of oranges can lead to a runny stool or diarrhea. Therefore, one segment of the orange is an ideal treat size.

5.  Pears—watch out for the cyanide in the seeds

Much like apples, pears are rich in vitamins C and A, but they are also rich in copper, vitamin K, pectin, folic acid, and fiber. Sounds like a great snack all around!

One or two cubes of the fleshy part of the pear will act as a probiotic and keep your dog’s digestive system healthy. What’s more, pears also have anti-cancerous properties.

6. Watermelons — the perfect summer treat

Watermelons are great for keeping your dog hydrated. They are also rich in lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that can prevent the development of vision issues in dogs.

Muscles and nerves will also stay healthy thanks to a watermelon snack, as the potassium will maintain their function.

Since it’s high in sugar, you need to be careful of the amount.

Vegetables—the best “people food” treats for dogs

1. Sweet potatoes — great for the digestive system

If your dog had an upset stomach, you could offer a sweet potato snack. The potassium and calcium will soothe the issues, and the vitamins A, C, B-6, and E will boost the immune system.

For dogs that love roots, sweet potatoes are a superior option. They are more nutritious than white potatoes, and they are more abundant in iron, calcium, copper, and thiamine.

2. Spinach — not just for Popeye!

If the famous cartoon has taught us anything, it’s that spinach is a superfood. It’s the most powerful source of iron, and it will keep your dog’s digestive system healthy.

Iron is crucial for deriving nutrients from the food. But it’s not just a punch of iron that spinach packs.

It’s also rich in vitamins and minerals that will help fight any inflammatory processes. What’s more, it has anti-cancerous properties as well.

3. Carrots — for mighty fur and a keen eye

The beta-carotene in carrots protects your pet’s sight. What’s more, it also maintains healthy skin and fur.

We all know that carrots are excellent for vision health due to vitamin A as well. But, did you know that these veggies are fantastic for your dog’s teeth? Try freezing a couple of cubes and giving it to your dog as a dental toy.

Furthermore, since they are low in calories, carrots are an ideal snack for overweight or senior dogs. The high fiber levels are great for digestion, which is also crucial for mature dogs.

4. Cucumber — a refreshing, hydrating snack

Chubby dogs have a real problem with begging for food. Well, now you can give them a healthy, low-calorie snack — cucumber.

Cucumbers are a delicious snack that doesn’t have a lot of fat or carbohydrates. In fact, cucumbers are 95% water.

However, the remaining 5% is packed with magnesium and vitamins K, A, and C. Those help with high blood pressure, and as a nice bonus, they keep your pooch's breath fresh.

5. Brussels sprouts — healthy bowel and smelly gas

Humans either love or hate Brussels sprouts. However, if you teach your dog to eat them as a snack, you’ll have a much healthier and happier friend.

Brussels sprouts are a great source of vitamins K and G, which maintain a healthy liver and improve bone density. Moreover, they are filled with magnesium, potassium, folate, and fiber.

Fiber helps with digestion. However, keep in mind that Brussels sprouts can cause rather smelly gas in pets.

Brussels sprouts are also an excellent source of vitamins A, B1, and B6.

6. Celery — fresh breath for dieting dogs

Much like the cucumber, celery is ideal for overweight dogs. However, it is richer in antioxidants than cucumber, so it will keep tissues and nerves healthy.

Potassium and manganese in celery will promote bone growth and regeneration.

A few parting words

Overall, fruits and veggies make great snacks for dogs. This is a perfect way to diversify your pet’s diet or enrich it with some key vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Always keep in mind that moderation is crucial. Any of these fruits and veggies can do more harm than good if you give them in huge portions or too often.

Therefore, a nice, healthy snack every now and then, served in a small portion, is the key to a healthy and happy dog.

Pin this infographic to remember the best fruits & veggies for dogs!

Fruits-Veggies-Treats-For-Dogs-Infographic

2019 Life Update

2019 Life Update

https://juliettesebock.com/in-which-i-am-played-by-reese-witherspoon-marias-at-sampaguitas/It’s been a while since my last life update, so I believe it’s about time for a 2019 life update! I’ve got so many exciting plans for blogging, writing, and life in general and I’m so excited to share a bit of these with you all.

Life, in general

As for some general life updates, not very much has changed.  I’m still working at my transcription job which, though not a great fit for my joint pain, (mostly) pays the bills.  I’m trying to pay off debt and save for the future while building the blog (here!) and my writing to bring in a bit more income.  I hope to be doing these more or less full-time, with a comparative income, in the semi-near future!

Health-wise, things aren’t great, but are they ever for a spoonie? I’m still dealing with my variety of conditions and taking it one day at a time.  Aside from the obvious health downsides and their keeping me from working a more traditional (better-paying) job, I really am getting better at managing my life alongside chronic illnesses.

Fitz is doing incredibly well, and may need an update post of his own soon! He’s gotten so big and grows into his personality more every day. Lately one of his favourite things is to go visit my grandparents–they absolutely adore him and he loves the attention! He even has his own special chair there!

Writing

I’ve had some amazing progress in terms of writing and publishing since I last wrote a life update!  Perhaps the most exciting is the acceptances I’ve received for publishing poems and micropoems. I only started submitting a few months into 2018 and it was a painfully slow process with a major learning curve. But now I’ve got pieces published or forthcoming in some amazing publications!

I’ll update my website with more as they come, but as of my writing this, here are some of my publications (mostly tiny poems, but longer ones to come!):

I’ve got quite the list forthcoming still (I’m still a bit in shock over it myself–people want to read and publish my writing??), so stay tuned!

I’ve also launched an online literary magazine of my own, Nightingale & Sparrow. We’re in the home stretch of accepting submissions for our first issue, flight, and I’m absolutely thrilled with it so far. I’ve gotten the chance to read and enjoy the work of so many writers who’ve trusted me with their work and it’s an amazing experience!

Of course, I’ve also got quite a few works in progress, per usual.  These include my biography of my grandfather, some poetry chapbooks/an eventual larger collection, and my novel!

Blogging

In addition to all of that other writing, I’m still typing away here on the blog, of course! As I mentioned above, I’m really trying to build the blog as a business in 2019.  I’ve gotten really discouraged over the months as I’ve thought about how much time and energy I’ve put into this site over the past two years with relatively little tangible results.  As much as I hate to compare, especially numbers-wise, it’s tough to see new bloggers work at this for six months and blow it out of the water!

I’m working on that bit of jealousy and I’m working just as hard at building the blog to the potential I know it has.  From building products of my own to pitching brands, I’m determined to have For the Sake of Good Taste make a mark in 2019!

I also just launched Pencils & Pages, a new offshoot of both this blog and my writing website, in which I’ll be featuring book reviews and writing insights!  I’ve already moved over some of our book reviews over there and I’m thrilled to be sharing more in the coming weeks.

Is there anything you’d like to know that I didn’t include in this 2019 life update? Ask away in the comments!

2019 Life Update

2019 Goals - Personal

My 2019 Goals

Last year, I only shared my blogging-specific goals with all of you (and again this year!).  For 2019, I figured adding my personal (or at least non-blogging) 2019 goals might be a nice addition–at the very least, I’ll gain some much-needed accountability!

A lot of these are writing-related, as that’s becoming an increasingly important part of my life. But, that’s not all that’s ahead for the year!

Send 500 pieces in lit mag submissions

Despite starting on my first ever poetry submissions quite a few months into 2018, I surpassed 200 submissions (counting individual poems, not each magazine).  So, 500 for 2019 shouldn’t be an issue at all!  In fact, I’ve got nearly 150 submitted already, thanks to being on bedrest with the flu for nearly a week!

While I’d love to set a goal for acceptances, I can’t really control the editors’ decisions.  So, I’ll just hope for the best on that front!  However, I’m also half-heartedly trying the 100 rejections challenge, too.  While I’m in no way going to be disappointed if I don’t reach 100 rejection letters, it’s already helping me to see them as less of a negative force!

Launch Nightingale and Sparrow‘s first issues

I recently launched an online literary magazine, Nightingale & Sparrow.  I’m hoping to release four issues a year! We’re currently accepting submissions for Issue No. I, flight, due in mid-February. I’d love to feature some of my wonderful blog friends who happen to be literary or photographically inclined, so please feel free to submit!

Read 100 books

Near the end of 2018, I decided to up my 2018 Goodreads Reading Challenge from 40 books to 50.  I’d been reading in excess, so it seemed like an easy win!  Fast forward to December and a handful of recurring migraines left me absurdly behind.  But I powered through and read some fantastic books, exceeding my goal of 50!

So, I’m hoping to read 100 books this year.  Without schoolwork (and required readings) bogging me down, I think it might be doable!  Migraines have already gotten in the way of my first few days of reading, I’m hopeful that they’ll let up going forward! I’ve already gotten some book reviews lined up for Pencils & Pages, my new book blog, so I’ve got to get going one way or another!

Complete 35 items on my 101 in 1,001 list

While I’ve been periodically updating my 101 in 1,001 list, I haven’t made anywhere near the progress I need to if I’d like to complete even a majority of the items by its end date.  So, I’m hoping 2019 is a big year for progress!

Finish my next two poetry manuscripts

While I’m not sure I’ll actually publish my next poetry books this year (I’m considering going for a more traditional publishing route with these), I’d like to at least get a final draft of the manuscript put together.  I’ve got a majority of the actual material ready to go, so it’s just a matter of arranging and putting the finishing touches on the real documents.

These will be Centre Stage and “How My Cat Saved My Life” and Other Poems, if you’re interested in learning more!

Draft The Affair

While NaNoWriMo 2018 didn’t go in my favour (thank you, migraines), I’m still pretty excited about the novel I started last November.  So, I’m hoping to continue and hopefully finish that first draft in 2019! It’s bound to be messy and far from ready to go, but I’m determined to get this first draft done.

Pay off at least three credit cards

Between being a poor college student and having a multitude of health issues, I have more debt than I’d like. Despite my absurdly low income, I’m determined to work hard to get at least three cards paid off! This is hardly a total solution and it doesn’t even touch the chaos that is student loans, but every little bit counts!

Earn income from the blog

Of course, this dives into some of my blogging goals for the year, but I’m planning on 2019 being the year that I start earning a semi-regular income from For the Sake of Good Taste. Between our planned product launches, (hopefully) some sponsored posts, and affiliate income, my hopes are high! As my blogging skills improve over time (I’m constantly amazed at how far the site has come since its launch!), I’m confident that things can only move forward.

Organise my life

The KonMari method may be having a resurgence of popularity thanks to Marie Kondo’s new Netflix series, but I’ve been utilising her concepts for years now. I’ve worked through her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, in little bits since I first picked it up, but I’m planning to make it through the entire process as intended this year. I’m working on clothes currently!

Build my emergency fund

In paying down debt and increasing my income, I’m hoping that I can get better at saving! I’m using a lot of Dave Ramsey methodology, so I’m starting with a goal of $1,000.  From there, I’d like to get a minimum of six months’ expenses saved, eventually!

What are your 2019 goals?

2019 Goals - Personal

2018 Christmas Gifts

Gifts I Got for Christmas 2018

As you might recall, I shared what I got for Christmas this time last year and I really enjoyed creating the post!  So, I decided to share my Christmas gifts this year, too.

Like I said a year ago, I do this to share my gratitude for the wonderful people who gave me these. Hopefully, it will inspire a few gifts for you to get for loved ones, too. Spread the love!

This post may contain affiliate links.  Please see our disclosure for more information!

Clothes & Accessories

Pajamas

If you read my Blogmas post about Christmas traditions, you’ll know about our annual Christmas Eve jammies! This year’s featured some adorable llamas–matching for me, Rachel, and Mom! Mom got the sleep shirt while Rachel and I got the top/pants set in the same design.

llama pajamas

Fuzzy socks

Something you should know about me if you don’t already: I’m nearly always cold!  The past few months, cold feet have been a particular annoyance (don’t tell my future husband!). So, I’ve been wearing fuzzy socks as much as possible.  These were a great trio to add to my collection!

Llama keychain

If you haven’t caught on yet: Hi, I’m Jules. I adore llamas (also, alpacas). That being said, this little fuzzball (in my favourite colour) was a perfect gift!

llama keychain

Necklace

While my mom doesn’t actively sell Paparazzi jewellery any longer, she still purchases some from time to time.  When she gave me this necklace, she prefaced it with “I thought of you when I saw this because it seems very Victorian.” She isn’t wrong and I love it! The green stones are the perfect touch.

victorian-style necklace

Beauty

Wet n Wild

Having gotten much more into makeup this year (thanks, RachhLoves, I entirely blame you for my obsession–in the best way possible!), one of the top items on my Christmas list this year was this holiday zodiac-themed set from Wet n Wild. I’m a Scorpio (and a very stereotypical Scorpio more often than not!) and I knew the gorgeous blue-toned shades in the Water set would go beautifully with my eyes. I’d already fallen in love with the lip shades, so this was a must-have!

Mom was wonderful enough to find me the set!  And, soon enough, our local Walmart had the whole series (all four elements) on sale. I picked up the others to use as some goal incentives for 2019–I can’t have them until I’ve paid off a certain amount of my credit cards!–and as a gift for my sister who, despite being a fellow Scorpio, was mildly obsessed with the Fire set.

If you follow us on Twitter or Instagram, you might have seen that I’m on a bit of a search regarding that Fire set. Ours came with a smashed compact mirror which, the bad juju notwithstanding, was so disappointing to my sister.  I contacted Walmart and Wet n Wild, who each told me to contact the other, so no luck there.  So, if you or someone you know has the Fire set and would be willing to part with the compact to make a sad teenager’s day, I’d be eternally grateful!

I also got a few other makeup goodies from my mom and my grandparents! I’m especially excited to test out the blush–I had some bad experiences with blush years ago (the colours I had were all wrong for me and looked horrid!), so I haven’t tested it out in years. I’m excited to play with it once again!

wetnwild water

Haircare tools

Another thoughtful gift from my grandparents was this stunning champagne/rose gold set of brushes and other haircare tools. The colour is absolutely perfect and I was desperately in need of a new brush!

haircare & makeup gifts

Electronics

Headphones

I work in transcription when I’m not blogging or writing, and all those hours with $10 Walmart headphones pressed to my ears weren’t doing me any favours, neither for my consistent migraines or my ability to work in anything but absolute silence.  Mom found an amazing deal on some Beats headphones* and it has made such a difference!

beats headphones

Webcam

You might remember me mentioning several times that I’ve been preparing a Youtube channel for For the Sake of Good Taste. It’s definitely been pushed to the backburner over time, but it’s definitely something I hope to incorporate at least a bit in 2019 (perhaps videos once a month or so?).  With that in mind, Mom picked up this webcam* that I’d had on my wishlist and actually forgotten about!

This is going to get its first use with an interview I’m doing soon on the poetry side of my life (learn more about my writing at my writing site, if you’re interested!).  From there, I’m hoping to get a space together to start vlogging! I’d love any tips you’d like to share so feel free to reach out in the comments or on social media if you’ve got any experience or tips for new vloggers!

HP Sprocket*

This was definitely the most surprising of my gifts! I’m in quite a few bullet journalling groups on Facebook and the HP sprocket (and similar products) are constantly appearing as favourite items. I’ve always thought they were neat, but I never in a million years thought I would have one of my own. Between the relatively high price point (at least for my personal budget) and needing to buy paper going forward, I had resigned myself to never testing out instant prints in my bujo.

Well, Mom listened to my thoughts on this more than I had. She found a great deal on the 2-in-1 sprocket*, which actually takes photos as well! I haven’t played around with all of its features yet, but I have printed out some cute photos of Fitz because priorities.

sprocket

Stationery

Harry Potter stationery & wand pen

One of my best friends, Monica, goes to visit her sister in Ireland regularly (one of these days I’ll follow her!).  On a recent trip, she picked up this gorgeous Harry Potter stationery and wand pen for me for Christmas!  I’ve already told her that we *will* be writing letters now.

harry potter stationery

Dot grid journals

Back to my bullet journal obsession, Mom got me two of my favourite dot grid journals from Michael’s, which should keep me going bujo-wise for at least half this year!

Stay tuned for a look at my 2019 bullet journal next week! 

dot grid journals

Pens

I adore Papermate flair pens* and these were the perfect addition to my collection!  Apparently my parents’ dog agrees, though . . . if you look closely, two of the caps have been attacked!

papermate flair

Recollections Creative Year Planner Books

While I keep lots (and lots and lots) of collections in my bullet journal, there are a few things that I’d love to have a pre-set layout for (and maybe transition into my bullet journal eventually).  These little booklets are perfect!  I’ve already been making huge strides towards my 2019 goals (posts on those coming soon!) with the Goals book!  In total, I got the menu planning*, goals*, important info, and bucket list books.

recollections creative year

Letterhead

In probably the most touching of my individual Christmas gifts, Mom had some letterhead made for my brand-new literary magazine, Nightingale & Sparrow, which I’m thrilled to say has taken off beautifully so far! I haven’t decided just yet as to what I’ll be using this for, but I can’t even tell you how much it means to me that she thought to do this.

nightingale & sparrow letterhead

Bullet Journal Organiser

While we’re already on a sappy note, I’ve got to share this organiser that Mom put together for me.  I’ve been saying for ages that I need to find a better organisation system for my bullet journal supplies. While this won’t hold all of my goodies, it’s absolutely perfect for holding my most-used items!  She included my bullet journal supplies, letterhead, and other goodies in this with a note reminding me to follow my dreams.  I’m tearing up again just writing this!

bullet journal organiser
Of course, it’s storing some other Christmas goodies in this photo while I work on my bujo!

Books

Cookbook

For weeks, my sister has been pointing to a Harry Potter-wrapped package under the tree and reminding me that it’s the gift she’s picked out especially for me. It turns out that that packaged housed this lovely vegan cookbook*!  I’m looking forward to playing around with some of these recipes!

Whiskey in a Teacup

I’m a huge fan of Reese Witherspoon (to the point that I’ve written a micropoem titled “In which I am played by Reese Witherspoon,” which will hopefully be published soon!). This book* has been on my TBR since months before its release.  Once I get caught up on some of the pieces I’m reviewing & blurbing, this is next up!

whiskey in a teacup - reese witherspoon

Bonnies Crew Anthology

While not technically a Christmas gift, I won a giveaway for a copy of this lovely little poetry anthology. It arrived just before Christmas, so I think it still counts!

Misc.

Kuchi Kopi blanket

Like last year, I got a few Bob’s Burgers gifts!  This hooded Kuchi Kopi blanket* is a personal favourite–he’s my favourite character from the show!

kuchi kopi blanket
I had the flu while finishing up photos for this post, so no selfies with Kuchi Kopi just yet–keep an eye on Instagram for some future shots!

Sheep finger puppet

My friend B is going to school back in England and sent me this adorable finger puppet of a sheep. While we were both living there, she got used to me getting excited each time we came across a field of sheep (which was, thankfully, quite often). This was the perfect reminder!

Burger pillow*

Mom loved the irony of buying this for her vegan daughter. But, I could definitely replicate it as a vegan burger!  It’s also the perfect amount of fluffy.

burger pillow - fitz
Fitz agrees.

Wand

Another gift from my wonderful friend B! This personalised wand is meant to be a reminder of my being “badass.” She knows about my struggles with mental health, so this was, again, a perfect gift!

Fish ornament

Back to the earlier topic of Christmas traditions, this was the first year that we received a special ornament as part of our Christmas Eve gift. My sister, a lifelong proponent of Chinese food, got a little soy sauce bottle, while I got this beautiful goldfish! Mom and I have referred to each other as “fishy” for years now, so it was the perfect touch.

Like in years past, I’m blown away at my friends’ and family’s talents at giving the perfect gift.  What Christmas gifts were your favourite to give or to get this year?

2018 Christmas Gifts

2019 Blogging Goals

2019 Blogging Goals

Over 2018, For the Sake of Good Taste really started to hit its stride in terms of where it’s going in the future.  As I nailed this down, my ideas for 2019 blogging goals really became crystal clear!  We might not have accomplished all of our (admittedly ambitious) 2018 goals, but I’m confident this year can be bigger and better.

Like last year, I’m sharing my yearly blogging goals (and, later, my personal goals as well!) with all of you.  I hope to be a bit better at updating my progress throughout the year, too, so stay tuned!

Quadruple our traffic

Once again, I’m setting “quadruple our traffic” as a blogging goal for the year.  We didn’t quite reach our target in 2018, but we’ve continued to grow in leaps and bounds and I have no doubt that this year can be even better!  I’m rounding the quadrupled number for simplicity’s sake.

For record-keeping, here are our 2018 stats and, from there, our 2019 goal stats:

Page views:

2018: 9,530

Goal: 38,000

Sessions:

2018: 4,118

Goal: 15,000

Users:

2018: 5,250

Goal: 21,000

And, while these aren’t being tripled exactly, I’d like to improve the average time spent on the site (spend some time delving into the archives!) as well as our bounce rate.

Average Time Spent:

2018: 1:55

Goal: 5:00

Bounce Rate:

2018: 57.94%

Goal: 25%

Increase our retention

Again, this is an important goal for the year.  I love gaining new readers, but I want our already-loyal followers to keep coming back, too!  My goal for this one is 40% returning traffic, 60% new; last year, we ended up at just 4.1% vs. 95.9%.

Social Media

Facebook was a bit of a pain in the neck throughout 2018, but we otherwise did remarkably well on our 2018 social media goals!  With that in mind, I’m hoping to once again blow it out of the water when it comes to our primary social media channels this year.

I’m including LinkedIn and Quora here, too, though they don’t quite fit the standard “social media” profile.  Quora has proved to be a really great source of traffic (the key is to give really helpful answers to relevant questions!).  And while I haven’t really utilised LinkedIn much in terms of blogging growth, I’m hoping to develop it throughout the year.

For LinkedIn, I plan to track how many times I share blog updates, rather than the likes/followers I’m tracking for other networks.

So, our 2019 social media goals:

Facebook: 150 likes

Twitter: 2,000 followers

Instagram: 1,000 followers

Pinterest: 750 followers

BlogLovin’: 100 followers

LinkedIn: 100 updates

Quora: 50 followers

Feature four guest posts

This breaks down to at least one a quarter and doubles our 2018 goal.  Since we were able to share three guest posts in 2018, I’m confident we can have at least four amazing bloggers visit this year!

We’ve already got one guest post lined up for later this month, so so far, so good!

Are you a blogger who’d like to learn more? Check out our media kit and shoot us an email!

Share two guests posts

I didn’t set a goal to guest post on other blogs in 2018, but I’d really like to do so this year.  I actually did share three last year despite the lack of a formal goal, so I’m hoping to keep up that momentum!

Are you a blogger looking for guest posters? Check out our media kit and shoot us an email!

Work with five brands

As our stats continue to improve, I’m confident that we can get even more brands excited to work with For the Sake of Good Taste!

I’m also planning to pitch a few brands directly, something that I have yet to do successfully (I tried once with my last blog, to no avail!).  It’s moderately terrifying, but I’m going to do it!

Are you a brand who’d like to learn more? Check out our media kit and shoot us an email!

Create three original products

With our upcoming ebook and a course already in the works, this one should be relatively painless.  A successful launch on the other hand?  Well, fingers crossed!

Swap It! should be coming your way later this quarter, with the course later in the year. I’m still brainstorming some ideas for a third product, so let me know if you’ve got any suggestions!

Fellow bloggers, what are your 2019 blogging goals?

2019 Blogging Goals

My 2018 Favourites

My 2018 Favourites

We’ve been slacking when it comes to sharing my monthly favourites since our hiatus this past fall.  So much so, in fact, that I struggled a bit when I first sat down to write this post!  Still, I knew I wanted to write out some of my 2018 favourites, along with a year-end update for you all.

Catch up on our past months’ favourites here, then read on for my 2018 favourites!

This post may contain affiliate links.  Please see our disclosure for more information!

WEARING:

I purchased a huge men’s flannel shirt while I was back in England and it’s remained a staple item from in my closet.  I highly doubt it’s a flattering look, but it’s comfy as anything and reminds me of “home.”

My Dobby shirt from June’s monthly favourites is still one of my favourites!

Especially working from home, I’ve pretty much lived in black leggings as much as possible.  They’re cosy, versatile, and they’re easy to dress up if I suddenly need to leave the house.

Thanks to my heel issues earlier in the year, I’ve got a comfy pair of slippers on hand and I’ve stocked up on fuzzy socks!

Most surprising to me, I actually got relatively decent when it comes to doing my makeup this year! I attribute this largely to watching far too much YouTube (more on that below).  I’ve built up a lovely little collection along the way too, as I work to purge my beauty supplies to all cruelty-free.

USING:

Along the lines of the oils I’ve diffused, I’ve also come to love the Thieves cleaner* from Young Living!

I started using the TV Time app a few months ago and it’s absolutely revolutionised the time I spend watching television.  Even with tracking my favourite shows in my bullet journal, it got unorganised from time to time–this makes it even easier to keep track.

I’ve used YouTube casually for years now, but I only recently began utilising it to a fuller extent. From recipes to makeup tutorials, I’ve used it for anything and everything!

We’ll be launching our YouTube channel soon–subscribe now to be the first to know when our first video goes live!

Of course, my bullet journal is an ultimate must-have.  I’ve used a few new tools with it this year, but I think my Paper Mate Flair pens* and Tombow adhesive* are my top picks for 2018.  I also got an HP sprocket* for Christmas which I’m loving so far, though I’m not sure I can really count it for a favourite of the year after just a few weeks!

I got my Fitbit* towards the end of last year to try to manage some of my symptoms (#spoonielife) and it’s helped me quite a bit in terms of tracking!

LISTENING:

I started to list some of my top songs for the year here, but I suddenly realised I could do even better . . . check out my 2018 Favourites playlist!

EATING:

One of my most-eaten meals this year was a tomato white-bean pasta bake that I adapted from a recipe my grandmother passed on to me.  I’ll be sharing the recipe in the new year!

I’ve also eaten far more salt & vinegar chips (or crisps!) then any rational human probably should.

Black beans & rice were a staple in my final months of college and they’ve remained a favourite ever since.

And, while it’s been a while, the chick’n salad, soy ravioli, and vegan BLT from my alma mater’s dining hall is still a favourite!  I’m slightly ashamed to admit just how frequently I daydream of it. Servo, if you see this, I would cry infinite tears of joy if you would forward those recipes.

DRINKING:

I can guarantee none of these will be a surprise!

Coffee & tea are consistent favourites–I go through a variety of brands, flavours and varieties! Dunkin’ iced tea is a long-time favourite, too.

I might not be McDonald’s’ biggest fan, but their $1 sodas are a godsend when out and about. For some reason, they actually help my migraines more than a standard glass of coca cola!

READING:

Despite increasing it a few months back, I managed to exceed my Goodreads Reading Challenge!

Some of my favourites from the year:

WATCHING:

Thanks to TV Time, I actually know what my favourite TV shows were this year!

Some old favourites, revisted:

  • The Office
  • FRIENDS
  • Adventure Time

And some new (both to the world and some new-to-me) discoveries:

  • The Haunting of Hill House
  • A Million Little Things
  • New Amsterdam
  • Manifest
  • This Is Us

Some favourite films:

DIFFUSING:

If you’ve read our previous monthly favourites this one should be easy to guess: my favourite oils were lavender, Trauma Life, Stress Away, and peppermint!

WORKING:

While my “day job” isn’t a great fit for my health issues, it’s helped me get by financially this year! The transition from undergrad to student loan bills was a bit painful (literally), so every little bit helps.  I’ve moved up to the highest rank of transcriptionist, which is pretty cool even if it’s not necessarily a long-term possibility.

As you probably know, when I’m not working or blogging, I’m probably writing! After months of limited progress, I’m thrilled to share that I have twelve poems published or pending from 2018!

  • Cauldron Anthology
  • Royal Rose Mag
    • “Dream Dissonance”
    • “Boleyn” (forthcoming)
  • Marias at Sampaguitas
    • “Reading Between the Lines”
    • “Screaming and then silence”
    • “Pastels and Neons” (forthcoming)
    • “Recording the Stars” (forthcoming)
    • “Atonement” (forthcoming)
    • “Dreamsong” (forthcoming)
    • “Engulfed” (forthcoming)
  • Reclaim: An Anthology of Women’s Poetry
    • “Broken Bodies, Broken Hearts”
  • Paper Trains Literary Journal
    • “Ethereal”

I also launched my own literary magazine!  Nightingale & Sparrow is currently accepting submissions for its inaugural issue, flight, which is due to be published in mid-February!

Here on the blog, we’ve grown so much, despite our technical difficulties! There’s still a ways to go as we further define our niche, but I’m confident we’ll keep getting better!

This year, we’ve gotten extremely close to reach out 2018 blogging goals (stay tuned for our full final update soon!).  We’ve done sponsored posts with Pure Journi and Opportuniteas and we’ve been able to do a bit of social media work, too.  We’ve featured four amazing guest posts and I was lucky enough to guest post for the lovely Scarlett and Liu Miao.

While we didn’t launch our vegan lifestyle course as originally planned, we did quite a bit of prep work for that and our upcoming book, Swap It!.

Top posts this year:

10 Movies for Self-Care Days

How I Published a Poetry Chapbook

Bullet Journal Basics

Easy Things to Organise Right Now

Top Finance Apps to Manage Your Money

Tools for Organisation

Self-Care Tips for Working at a Computer All Day

101 in 1,001

Blogs to Follow ASAP

My Top Office Supplies for College Students

WHAT WERE YOUR 2018 FAVOURITES?

My 2018 Favourites

Blogmas Roundup

Blogmas Roundup (Blogmas 2018, Day Twenty-Five)

If you’ve been following us through the past 25 days of Blogmas, you’ve seen an awful lot of Christmas-y content.  But, if you’re a Christmas enthusiast like so many, it’s likely still not enough!  That’s why I’ve put together our final Blogmas post for 2018–the 2018 Blogmas Roundup!

via GIPHY

I’ve been keeping track of some of my favourite bloggers who’ve participated in Blogmas this year to prepare some of my favourite pieces.  You’ve now got double the posts to keep you entertained and in the Christmas spirit!

12 Days of Letter Writing with More Love Letters, Life with Faith

This is such an amazing idea that I hadn’t heard of before reading Faith’s post!  I love writing letters (I actually correspond with a few friends almost exclusively through letter writing!), so this was a perfect idea.

Unique Gift Guide, Leslie Leon

I think we all have that person who doesn’t fit into any neat category for a traditional gift guide.  This gift guide is full of unique gift ideas that could be perfect for that exact person!

Handmade Gifts – Cross-Stitched Bookmarks, Kay at Home

I haven’t done much of it in ages, but I used to love cross stitch!  Kay’s post might just have inspired me to pick up a new batch of supplies and try it again in the new year!

Christmas traditions, Insecure Housewife

I shared my own Christmas traditions this Blogmas, so it was so neat to see Sarah’s family’s traditions!

Dog Gift Ideas, Phigella

I may or may not buy more gifts for the furry/feathered/scaly friends in my life than for the real people.  Whoops?

50 Bookish Questions, Bookish and Bright

I loved reading through Alysha’s answers to these questions, and I may have to take her up on her open tag . . . stay tuned in 2019!

Top 5 Ways to Make Christmas Decorating Easier, Grap a Cuppa

This post has some excellent tips!  My personal favourite?  The all-important advice:  “Fairy lights make everything better!”

50 Things that Make Me Happy, The Longest Road to Walk

I’m all for celebrating the things that make you happy!

Check out our list of little things to make you happy! 

Christmas Party Look, SophaaRambles

This look is absolutely stunning and the perfect Christmas party look!

The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe: a Christmas treat, Novel Library

Can you believe that I majored in English, yet haven’t read this series?

The Festive Christmas Book Tag, Jenniely

I’ve been doing so much writing and reading as of late that book tags are especially thrilling!

Why A #FoodBankAdvent can help this Christmas, Broke Girl In The City

I’m a big believer in helping others as much as possible, and this is the season of giving, after all!

Blog Posts To Get You In The Mood For Christmas, twentysixotwo

A blog post in a list of blog posts which leads to more blog posts? Yes, please!

Favourite Books of Christmas, Bailey Leah

Remember way back at the beginning of Blogmas when I was looking for Christmas-y book/story recommendations?  This would have been perfect!  I’m definitely keeping this one on hand for next Christmas!

Why I Celebrate Christmas, A Rosie World

This was definitely one of the most unique Blogmas posts I’ve come across this year and I absolutely love it.  Such a lovely perspective on something I don’t think many people think much about!

Festive Pinterest and Instagram Board, Lifeofemmax

I didn’t realise how badly I needed this level of festivity in my life until I found this post!

6 Travel Ornaments, Girl on The Fly

These ornaments are so adorable!  Perfect for your favourite traveller!

How to Say Merry Christmas in the Different Languages, Wandering Waffles

This is another lovely piece that I haven’t seen elsewhere!

A Look at Blogmas Past, Repressing the Crazy

Another super unique post that I was excited to see–I love the idea of incorporating past Blogmas concepts in those to come!

Harry Potter Scenes I Wish Were In The Movies Part One, Charleigh Writes

I still can’t decide if I really consider Harry Potter to count as Christmas films, but I love this take on a Blogmas post!  We all have our favourite scenes that didn’t make the cut in the movies and it’s always neat to see what others think.

Check out some of my favourite holiday films!

Non-Traditional Christmas Desserts, Unseen Beauty

I love to see non-traditional takes on holiday celebrations!

Baking Christmas Dog Treats, The Little Wise Owl

Again, we can’t forget about our furry friends this Christmas!

Christmas Songs that Don’t Make Sense, The Girl In The Red Rubber Boots

This is such a cute post idea!  And there are some fantastic points regarding these songs, too.

Christmas Eve Wrapping, Some Pretty Thing

I came upon this sweet post just after finishing some last-minute wrapping on Christmas Eve, so it couldn’t have been more perfect!

Tips for Christmas Shopping, The Bookish Brunette

You can never have too many shopping tips!

Blogmas Roundup

Have you read any of the posts featured in our Blogmas roundup or was another one your favourite?  Be sure to let us know your top picks for Blogmas 2018!

Happy Blogmas