25 Practical and Useful Gift Ideas: A Minimalist Gift Guide || 12 Days of Blogmas 2020 Day 1

Hello friends, and HAPPY BLOGMAS!! I’ve been doing blogmas for several years now, and while I . . . don’t think I’ve ever finished, it’s always been fun to try! I’ve posted some of my favorite blogposts over blogmas, and it’s always fun to start the new year off on a blogging roll, you know?

Like last year, I’ll be doing 12 days of blogmas: 12 blogposts spread out throughout December leading up to Christmas. It’s not going to be super Christmas themed or anything, but I’m excited to do it!

For today’s post, I thought I would do a 25 minimalist gift ideas list. Over the course of the year, I’ve leaned more and more towards living a minimalistic and simplistic lifestyle: 2020 has definitely taught me the value of living a quieter life, and one does not need to have many things in order to live a productive and fulfilling life.

This Christmas, I’m asking for things that are not just more meaningful, but also higher quality and conducive to living a minimalist life, and I thought I would put together a list of some simple gifts that promote hygge and a quiet life. If you have any people in your life that you want to give a gift to, I think these would be really nice gifts: they’re practical and useful, while still being meaningful at the same time!

*Some Links are Affiliate

Health + Wellness

  1. Nice smelling soap or lotion
  2. Essential oils & diffuser (these are the essential oils that I use–this company is not a MLM, but that link is my referral code and gets you $10 off a purchase of $50! I also use Young Living oils and as far as I know, they are the same quality)
  3. Simplistic minimal jewelry
  4. A menstrual cup! Obviously this one depends on your relationship with the person, but I love mine and did a blogpost about it a while back! (You can find it here.) This is the one that I use: Duchess Menstrual Cup
  5. Masks (#2020) or face masks as more of a beauty supply
  6. An aesthetic candle (such as this wood wick crackling candle)

Kitchen

  1. Reusable straws (like these)
  2. A milk frother (A similiar one to mine that has good reviews)
  3. A French press
  4. Your favorite coffee beans (especially ones from a small company like this one)
  5. Loose leaf tea (like from this small company)
  6. A cast iron skillet (like this one)
  7. A spice collection
  8. High quality wooden kitchen utensils (like these)

DSC_0138

Self Improvement

  1. The Little Book of Hygge
  2. Prompted journals: I personally haven’t used them, but these are good ones that I’ve heard of-
  3. A high quality notebook like a Leuchtturm1917 or a Moleskine
  4. A non-fiction book/devotional! Some good ones that I’ve had recommended to me (but that I haven’t read) are:

Home

  1. A good quality set of coasters (like these marble ones)
  2. A good utility knife
  3. Wool dryer balls
  4. A subscription box services to something that you know they will actually use. Some of the ones I’ve seen are

DSC_0061

  1. Items from a small business that are functional and that they would use, like mugs or art pieces. Some of my favorites are:
    • Jenessa Wait (mostly art prints but also journals, mugs, and pillowcases)
    • Rachel Allene (mostly mugs, but also some other hand lettered things like t-shirts and stickers)
  2. Board games
  3. Plants: succulents or otherwise low maintenance ones are the best ones to give as gifts

I would highly recommend asking people for their wish list, and give them thing that are useful and meaningful to them. Use this list as inspiration, but don’t buy someone something unless you know they will need it. If you don’t know what they want, then I would highly suggest a gift card with a thoughtfully written note: the meaning is still there, but you aren’t cluttering up their life with things that they do not need and that do not add to their life.


So here is a sampling of ideas that I am looking to give to people in my life this year! What is on your wishlist? What is something you’re gifting to someone else? Are you a minimalist? Leave me a comment and let me know!

2019 Reflections/2020 Resolutions || 12 Days of Blogmas 2019 Day 12

Happy Christmas Eve!!! Today is the last day of blogmas, and I’m here with my SIXTH (SIXTH!!) Reflections/Resolutions post! I started in 2014, and here we are now! If you haven’t read any of my previous wrapups, this is where I reflect on what I did this year and look forwards to what I want to do next year!

My 2019 Reflections + 2020 Resolutions

Bloggy Stats:

  • 308 posts (41 posts written)
  • 2404 views
  • 1158 visitors
  • 207 followers
  • Visitors from 60 different countries
  • 716 blogstagram followers
  • 415 Twitter followers
  • 81 Pinterest followers
  • 39 Facebook likes

Blog Highlights

  • Actually started working on my Blogstagram, and saw a good amount of growth on there
  • Did my first “real collab” with my friend Abby from Story Eyed
  • Started actually putting in more effort into my blogposts, which meant that there were less blogposts but better quality
    • (although my stats do not reflect that lol)
  • Did 12 Days of Blogmas rather than 25 because that was more doable for me
  • Didn’t see much growth on the blog (read: at all) but did see a pretty big leap in my socials, so that was a nice compromise

Most Popular Posts

College Advice We Wish We’d Known feat. Abby from Story Eyed // The Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag // What’s in My Bullet Journal: New Year, New Set Up // My TOP TIPS for Using a Menstrual Cup || MY EXPERIENCE // A Day in My Life || Freshman Year 2019 // How I Shoot and Edit my Instagram Photos

2019 Resolutions

  1. Do monthly goals Uhhhhhhh kinda? I did have better habit setting/tracking throughout the year, although not necessarily explicit /goals/ so I guess that kind of counts? Mostly successful.
  2. Read my Bible and do a devotional everyday I . . . actually could not tell if you if I did more Bible reading this year? This year I actually started studying studying the Bible though, and I feel like I’ve grown more spiritually this year than the past couple of years, so that’s good. I definitely did NOT do a devotional everyday though. Partially successful.
  3. Write in a journal at least 5 days a week HAHAHA no. I journaled every. single. day. in November, and a couple days at the beginning of the year and a couple times sporadically in the middle, but not overall. I wrote 62 entries, so 17% of the year. Considering that I’ve been slightly better at the end of the year than at the beginning, I would count that as a partial success.
  4. Develop a morning routine (updating monthly) and stick to it Again, this was more done at the end of the year, namely November. Since Christmas break in December, I’ve gotten bad at a morning routine again, but this is something I hope to continue in the new year. Mostly fail.
  5. Drink 3 quarts of water every day I drank SO MUCH water this year. Although I definitely didn’t drink 3 quarts of water every day, I did actively try to drink more water, so I will count this as a Success.
  6. Turn off electronics at midnight during college, and by 10pm not during college Urrr sometimes? This goal didn’t really motivate me that much, lol, I just went to bed whenever so I don’t think this really counts? Mostly fail.
  7. Memorize either a Bible chapter or literary work every month LOL NOPE. This did NOT happen. Failure.
  8. Revamp my Instagram and maybe actually stick to a theme for once Yes!!! I actually did this: at the beginning of the year, I shot a bunch of photos and organized them into a feed, and began posting! I’ve posted 132 times, which roughly equals 3 times a week! Success.
  9. Grow my platforms: Post at least one Instagram story, one tweet, and blog comment a day I did not post one comment every day, but I did my best to post one story and one tweet a day. I grew my Instagram and Twitter a bit, but my blog definitely fell by the wayside. Overall, though, I would count it a Success.
  10. Set a daily task and finish that task (i.e., stop procrastinating) I did not do this. I didn’t account for daily tasks in my bullet journal, and so I just kinda forgot about it. This is a goal that is coming back next year. Fail.
  11. Make 3 fair entries a month LOL no. I knit like 6 beanies and did 4 or 5 art projects but that’s about it. I barely participated in the fair as it was. Fail.
  12. Be more intentional about taking photos Yes! This year I set up a “photo a day” spread in my bullet journal and I logged 306 photos from throughout the year! Posting more on my Instagram also helped with this one. Now I have memories from almost every day of the year and that’s super exciting! Success.
  13. Not take an unplanned hiatus from the blog Uh well . . . the whole year was kind of a hiatus, so I definitely did not do this, haha! I did not post at all pretty much September-November. Fail.
  14. Only eat carbs one meal a day (on top of giving up the aforementioned list) This started out pretty strong, but dwindled throughout the year. Overall, I realized that this kind of restriction doesn’t really work great, and next year I will have different dietary goals. Partial success.

roughly 7/14, which is half, and what I shoot for every year, so yay!

2019 Happenings

    • Actually starting curating an Instagram feed (Jan)
    • Wrote my first Science Olympiad exam and proctored my first tournaments (Jan/Feb)
    • Joined a Bible study on campus (Jan)
    • My first Valentine’s day! (Feb)
    • Finished my second semester of college! (May)
    • Went on a month-long trip to visit family (June)
    • Realized I’ve become an ISFJ instead of an ESFP (and had a breakdown about it on Twitter) (Jun)
    • Went on my first double date (Jul)
    • Went to the county fair again (Aug)
    • Started my sophomore year of college!! (Aug)
    • SAW dodie IN CONCERT (Sep)
    • Hosted my first (flash) readathon (Sep)
    • Started #Adulting and actually grocery shopped for myself (Oct/Nov/Dec)
    • Finished my third semester of college! (Dec)

2020 Resolutions

  1. Wake up before 7:30am everyday
  2. Journal at least one line everyday
  3. Memorize Colossians
  4. Go through My Utmost for His Highest devotional
  5. Have one hour to myself for quiet time everyday
  6. Complete all Little Bible Plans
  7. Take one photo every day
  8. Get to 1000 Instagram followers
  9. Restrict my use on social media
  10. No mindless browsing
  11. Practice intermittent fasting
  12. Lead a more nontoxic lifestyle
  13. Post at least two blogposts a month
  14. Get a 70% review ratio on Netgalley
  15. Set monthly goals
  16. Be able to do 10 pushups in a row and a full pullup

Happy end of Blogmas, everyone! I hope you enjoyed reading my posts, and I hope you have a WONDERFUL New Year!! What is one New Year’s Resolution you have? What is one thing you accomplished this year?

People of 2019 || 12 Days of Blogmas 2019 Day 11

Hey everyone! Happy Blogmas Day 11! Today’s post is one I like to do at the end of every year, where I look back at my life and thank the people that made the year what it was. I really highly recommend doing this: it really helps me be thankful of the people I have in my life, and makes me that much more grateful for the life that I have!

People of 2019.png

For 2019, I’m thankful for:

  • my mom and dad, obviously, for supporting me and guiding me through this next season of my life
  • my brothers, D+P, for finally starting to understand humor and jokes and memes and becoming friends this year
  • “Grandma” and “Grandpa” B and “Aunt” L, for always having my back spiritually, of course!
  • my cousin, SM, for hanging out with me this year: we actually became friends this year and I’m super happy about that!
  • my boyfriend, MF, for showing me unconditional love, for all of the amazing dates we had and cuddles we did. You’re my favorite person in the whole world, and I will never forget you. I love you so much!
  • RF and AS, for all the fun hangs this year. I can’t believe it’s taken us so many years to actually become friends. Both of you are going to go so far in life, and the battles you faced this year will make you that much stronger in the future!
  • MM, for being such a good friend despite the distance and the busyness; you still connect with me and think about me and point me back to God
  • OS, for being a great roommate, and for all the adventures we shared this year. We are definitely not a typical roommate pair, and I would not have it any other way!
  • MM and KS, for still being friends, even through we haven’t hung out as much this year. I know I can send you both a text and you will support me and understand and listen.
  • CF, for being both my friend from home and also at school, giving me support always
  • NH, NSD, SK, AS, AB, MS, RW, ES, AY, BS, and DB, my college friends, for being with me through the stress, the good days, and the bad.
  • EC, for being my chemistry buddy and for understanding The Struggle
  • my Gemstone team and mentor, for always expanding my mind and challenging my research. I’m looking forwards to the next two years!
  • TL and JL, for giving me an outlet for playing music in college, even though I am nowhere near the caliber of collegiate playing
  • ER, YR, EG, CS, and MC, my Delight girls, who constantly remind me to stay close to God, even when life is hard and it feels like he’s not there
  • my online friends, especially for Abby, Hailey, Grace Anne, Charley, and Olivia, for encouraging me, supporting me, and always being there for me. You all are the best!
  • CS, KG, YT, VM, AM, KC, NW, HN, AZ, and others, my church friends, for always saying hi to me and encouraging me to grow closer to God
  • and God of course, for always being besides me no matter where I am in life and what I do

Who are YOU thankful for this season? Who has poured into you in 2019? Don’t comment if you don’t want to, but I really encourage you to think about who’s been important in your life from year to year!

 

My Top 10 Reads of 2019 || 12 Days of Blogmas 2019 Day 6

Hey everybody! Today I’m here with one of my favorite wrap-up posts to make: my top 10 reads of the year!! I did this last year, and really enjoyed it, so I’m doing it again this year! I read a ton of amazing books this year, and it was a little bit hard to narrow them down. I did my best though, and here are my top 10 reads of 2019, in no particular order!

  1. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater. This was my first read of the year, and it was such a great book to start off the year on. The characters, the writing style, the setting, ALL OF IT. Read it if you haven’t yet. (also I had a tweet go semi-viral about the Scorpio Races lol)
  2. I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson. This was SUCH a good book! While I didn’t agree with everything in the book (i.e., there was a lot of Content for people who are more sensitive to these types of things), the writing style was so beautiful and family stories get me EVERY. TIME.
  3. More Than We Can Tell by Brigid Kemmerer. Wow this book made me S O B. The length was perfect, the characters were perfect, the story was so nice to read, and it HIT SO HARD. There was a small Christian/homeschooling bash, which some people don’t like, but I LOVED THIS BOOK
  4. To Best the Boys by Mary Weber. I went into this book not expecting much, as I hadn’t really enjoyed the other two books of the author’s that I’ve read. However, this one was different. It’s like The Scorpio Races meets Caravel, and I loved it! The main characters were SO PRECIOUS and so distinct and so well written, and there were badass girls and women in STEM and disability rep and a beautiful writing style and honestly why haven’t you read it yet. (Full Review)
  5. Some Kind of Happiness by Claire Legrand. This was such a beautiful book: I resonated a lot with it, and I read it all in one sitting despite having 6 hours of class the next day. Although it’s technically considered middle grade, it had topics that were introspective and deep and lovely and it wonderful characters and beautiful writing and just..WAS A GOOD BOOK. It made me sob quietly in the corner of my room while my roommate was asleep. I love this book.
  6. The Color Project by Sierra Adams. AAAAAAND yet another book that made me sob late at night while my roommate was asleep!!! All of the characters were SO GOOD and it had the perfect balance of fluff with depth and love and sorrow and I SOBBED. This is by far my favorite read of the year, and I will forever scream from the rooftops about it. (ALSO LOOK AT THIS COVER. IT’S GORGEOUSSSSSSSS)
  7. The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise by Dan Gemeinhart. The way you would think from having read this list, you would’ve thought I spent all semester sobbing while reading a book while my roommate was asleep, because this was another one. It’s technically a middle-grade, but it was SUCH an amazing middle grade: there were amazing descriptions and characters and topics that were covered and it was just wonderful. Also it made me want a baby kitty.
  8. Romanov by Nadine Brandes. Although it hasn’t been apparent so far on this list, I really love historical fiction, and this is a historical fantasy. It’s a retelling of the Anastasia Romanov story, and the characters in this one were so so good: each of them had their own personalities and were distinct from each other. The historical part of it was also so beautifully written and well researched, and I just really loved reading about it. It had good pacing, history, characters, and just EVERYTHING. If you like history, read this book. (Full Review)
  9. A Thousand Perfect Notes by C. G. Drews. Wahoo, it’s another contemporary that made me crYYYYYYYY. There was so much emotion written into this book, even though it’s pretty short (I read it in under two hours), and I cried three times while reading it (and this was only because I started sobbing 70 pages from the end and didn’t stop until 10 minutes after I’d finished it). Beck is my favorite and August is also my favorite and August’s family is my favorite and lasagna is my favorite and Beck and August is my favorite and I already need to reread it.
  10. Hungry Hearts: 13 Tales of Food & Love (an anthology) edited by Elsie Chapman. This was such a fun read: it was a collection of connected short stories about food by assorted authors, and I loved it so much!! Each of the stories were distinct but were also connected and I enjoyed it so much!


Those are my top 10 reads of 2019! Have you read any of them? What are some books that you recommend I read? What were YOUR top reads of 2019? Drop me a comment and let me know!

 

19 Things I Learned in 2019 || 12 Days of Blogmas 2019 Day 5

Hey everybody! Today I have a super exciting blogpost to share with you all: I’m talking about the 19 Things I Learned in 2019!! I did this once before, when I turned 18 (you can find that here) and really enjoyed it, so I wanted to do it again!

19 Things I Learned in 2019

  1. It is, in fact, possible to date somebody that has . . . essentially the same name as you
  2. It is, also, in fact possible to get rid of 2 55-gallon trash bags worth of STUFF from your room and still have a full room (being a minimalist is hard)
  3. Having a good feed on Instagram . . . isn’t that hard??? You just need to plan ahead a little (which, yes, is difficult) but it’s not /that/ bad? Also Unum is the best
  4. Menstrual Cups are pretty great. Except for when you drop them when you’re trying to take them out and the bathroom looks like you tried to flush a body🙊
  5. You, uh, need to make sure your phone volume is on before you connect it to your speaker or else you’re going to be very confused
  6. KEEP👏A👏CAN👏OF👏WHIPPED👏CREAM👏IN👏YOUR👏MINI👏FRIDGE
  7. No matter where you are in life, or how busy you are, or how stressed you are, time with God will NEVER be wasted (unless you’re using it as an excuse. then it will. but not because you spent time with God)
  8. Talk to your professors!!! They can help you A LOT . . . but also not help at all, lmao oops
  9. Both you and your roommate getting super sick during finals week is going to be . . . a time (not at all).
  10. There will, in fact, be a point in your life when your parents congratulate you for getting a C- instead of failing. (There might not in your life exactly, of course, but I learned that I did)
  11. You can just ..switch two letters on the MBTI typing test?
  12. I make some bomb homemade mac and cheese. (Recipe found on Pinterest here)
  13. Playing piano for church is . . . actually really stressful??? Hats off to anyone who plays every week bc it’s HARD
  14. MORNING ROUTINES ARE AMAZINGGGGGGGGGGG and everyone should make one. Also, I’m a morning person?? Who knew??
  15. Grocery shopping??? is so fun?? Who hid this information from me for so long
  16. Journaling is GREAT; you get to remember what you did in a day, and pray and think and it’s all just for you. Not sharing everything on the internet? Who’d’ve thunk
  17. Baby Yoda is the best thing to have graced this earth
  18. Taking four 2-hour exams in 50 hours is BAD and will END POORLY
  19. EVERYTHING COSTS MONEY and is EXPENSIVE

So there you have it! 19 Things I Learned in 2019! What’s something you learned in 2019? Do you like grocery shopping? Leave me a comment and let me know!

 

How I Wrap Up a Year || 12 Days of Blogmas 2019 Day 4

Hi everyone! Today I have a super exciting blogpost to share with you all: it’s how I wrap up a year! Every year, I take the week between Christmas and New Year’s to wrap up my year, and today I’m showing you all what I do!

How I WrapUp a Year.png

You may or may not have gathered this already, but New Year’s is a big deal for me. I love seeing what the past year brought and looking forwards to what the new year will hold. I love introspecting and analyzing my own personality and seeing how I’ve grown. I love making my new bullet journal for the next year. It’s my faaaaaaaaaaaavorite time of year, honestly. 😂

So how do I wrapup my year? There are several components to wrapping up a year for me, and I’ll describe each of these, and how it benefits me:

Books I’ve Read. This one’s pretty easy: I read a Lot of books, and I like seeing stats on what I’ve read this year. I do this in conjunction with my GoodReads reading challenge, and it’s been really fun looking at what books I’ve read throughout the year and remembering my favorites. 🙂 || Books I Read in 2019
People In My Life. I started doing this when I saw a friend do it years ago. I write a list of all the people that are important to me/that have made an impact on me this year, and I write a short thank you note/open letter to each of them. It’s not so much for them as it is for me, and having done it for several years now, I can see all the people who’ve made me who I am, and all the friends that have stayed with me throughout the years versus the ones who’ve gone! || People of 2019
Highlights of the Year. When you’re wrapping up a year, it’s really easy to look at all the things that you didn’t do and think about all the bad things that happened that year. However, I am nothing if not an optimist, and I always really like looking at all the things I’ve accomplished/places I’ve been/people I’ve hung out with/adventures I’ve been on throughout the year! After I make my list, I write them all in my little wall calendar (since I don’t write in it during the year, it’s blank at the end and I fill it up!)

2020-01-14 08.20.00 2.jpg
Goals and Achievements. I like looking at my goals from the previous years to see what all I’ve done towards them. Sometimes it’s not a lot, sometimes it’s quite a bit. Usually, it comes around to 50%, which isn’t the worst success rate in the world! (lol) I reevaluate the goals to see if I still want to implement them in my life, and also appreciate how far since when I set them! ||  2019 Reflections/2020 Resolutions
Setting New Goals. After I look at my old goals, it’s time to set new ones! I think about what things I want to be different in my life, and what habits I want to implement. Most of my goals are more habits, rather than goals goals, and I really like it that way! I see my New Year’s Resolutions as steps to make me a better person than who I am right now, and not as something that will change who I am as a person, and that helps guide how I set my goals. || How To Achieve All of Your 2020 New Years Resolutions
Making My New Bullet Journal. This one’s pretty self explanatory, but I set up my new Bullet Journal for the year, which is my absolute favorite thing to do! I reevaluate what has worked in my bullet journal the last year, and I look at some new spread ideas to log all the new habits I want to be working on! This is hands down my favorite thing to do when wrapping up a year, and it’s awesome! || My 2020 Bullet Journal Setup
Journaling and Introspection. This is really important as well; I’m really prone to just . . . putting everything online, and don’t take the time to introspect, but there’s always a side of wrapping up a year that doesn’t go on the internet. I take some time to journal and pray and introspect and just really think about who I am and how I want to grow and how I’ve already grown, and just look back at my last year of life. I always put it off for a really long time (it really should be the first step, haha), but it’s so important!


I hope that sharing my end of year routine helps you out! It’s not too late to wrap up a year, and I really hope that you do it! Obviously you don’t have to do all of these steps, but take what works for you and run with it! Try some things out, and have fun!

How do you wrap up a year? Are there things that I do that you also do? Are there things that I do that you want to do? Let me know in the comments! I’d loveeeee to chat about the end of the year; it’s my absolute favorite time of year!

How To Achieve All of Your 2020 New Years Resolutions || 12 Days of Blogmas 2019 Day 3

Welcome to Blogmas Day 3! Today, we are going to talk about what I do to achieve all of my New Year’s Resolutions! I have been setting New Year’s Resolutions for six years now (!!!?!), and while I haven’t done The Best™ at achieving all of them, I think I have a pretty good idea on how to actually achieve my New Years Resolutions and today, I’m going to be talking about what I’ve learned!
How To Achieve Everything You Want To Do in 2020

Step 1: Set Good Goals. We’ve all heard the tips about setting good goals: make them specific, break them down, etcetera. But what do they mean exactly? Here is what I think about when I set New Year’s Resolutions:

  • What do I want to change in my life? For example, next year, I want to start waking up before 7:30am. I don’t do that normally, but I want to in 2020! I like listing out all of the things I want to change in my life, however large or small it is. Goals of mine have ranged from “drink more tea” to “practice intermittent fasting,” but they are all things that I want to change in my life in the new year.
  • What is the most reasonable way of accomplishing this goal? Or, how much of this goal will I need to do to feel accomplished? For instance, I set the benchmark for my resolution of waking up early at 7:30, because that is a reasonable time to wake up. Although I would like to wake up earlier, setting my goal to be “wake up at 5am” is not going to be sustainable (for me at least) and will more likely result in my not accomplishing this goal.
    When I set the goal lower than I want, then being able to check the resolution off my list will be a lot easier! While that might mean I won’t be able to exactly accomplish something I want to change in my life, it is a small step in the right direction, which is more than I was at before!
  • How can I break this goal down to make it achievable? One of my goals for 2020 is to start living a more nontoxic lifestyle. Since I’m not currently consciously living a nontoxic life, any step will be more than I’m currently doing. One of the first steps I want to take is to research which products that are the most toxic and begin working on getting those switched out.

2019-10-19 01.28.24 1.jpg

Step 2: Get Started On Your Goals Early It takes three weeks to begin establishing a habit, and two months for it to become ingrained in your life. Getting started with your goals a couple days (or even weeks!) before the New Year hits allows you to test out the feasibility of your goals before the real pressure hits. 

Needing to do a 180-degree turn-around on January 1st is a lot, and if I don’t already have a plan to implement a goal into my life, then the chances of my accomplishing that goal is that much lower. The easier I make my goals and resolutions on myself January 1st, the easier keeping these habits in my life are going to be. 

Step 3: Give Yourself Some Grace Even on the beset days, you mess up. Sometimes you take a step forward but then two steps back. Sometimes you sleep through your alarm. Sometimes, the only option you have is to eat before 9am, or use the not-non-toxic shampoo. That doesn’t mean failure! Get back up and try again.

So often, we aim for perfection, but the whole point of New Year’s Resolutions is not perfection. It’s about trying, and becoming a better person in the end. If you mess up one day, just try again the next! It’s not the end of the world: you are still taking steps to make yourself a better person. And in the end, that’s what matters, isn’t it?


Do you set New Year’s Resolutions? What is one you have for 2020? What are some things that you use to help you achieve your goals? Drop me a comment and let me know!

How I Shoot and Edit my Instagram Photos || 12 Days of Blogmas 2019 Day 2

Hey everyone!! Welcome to the second day of Blogmas!! Today, I’m going to be sharing how I shoot and edit my Instagram photos!

How I Take and Edit My Instagram Photos

In 2019, I’ve been making an effort to curate my Instagram feed: the beginning of this year was when I actually started trying to grow my instagram and make it something that I was proud of. I’ve almost doubled my account since the start of the year (just under 400 to almost 700, so shh not quite double but we’re almost there) and I’ve had a lot of fun while I was at it! I’m not confident enough in my skills to grow an Instagram to write a blogpost about it yet, but I’ll do some more research and experimenting in 2020 and hopefully do a post about that too!

Here’s my feed (@HanneasinHannah):

I try to make it a mixture of bookish and lifestyle (i.e., college), interspersing in bullet journaling, bible journaling, and art as I do it, which is not as often. So how do I do it? I have five steps that I go through to make my feed:

  1. look up inspiration
  2. take photos
  3. select and edit photos
  4. sort into a feed
  5. post

For looking up inspiration, I base my method loosely off of Abbie’s method, (where she looks up photos that match her brand on Pinterest and curate a sample feed that she then matches) but with my own variation. Since my “brand” is basically just . . . bookish hygge, it’s easy to find photos and feeds that I can get inspiration from on Instagram. Obviously, Pinterest is helpful as well (I have a board on Pinterest that I use for Instagram inspo). Instead of having an idea of what feed I want to make before I take the photos though, I just take inspiration from the individual photos and curate them into a feed I like.

screenshot-234-e1577135287968.png

Next, taking the photos. I shoot my photos in bulk, and generally I take a day every couple of months just to shoot a bunch of photos all in a row. I prepare for shooting days by stockpiling all of the books/supplies/props I need, and looking up inspiration, like mentioned above. I don’t usually consciously stockpile books, but I do time my shoot days with days that I’ve gotten a particularly large library haul.

I shoot with a Nikon D3400 camera, but have also shot with a point and shoot. I don’t use my phone camera because it has really bad quality, but obviously you can use anything to take your photos with! I take photos on days with direct sunlight but with my blinds closed. (I have translucent blinds, so they let just the sunlight through but don’t cause shadows as badly)

After I’m done shooting my photos, I edit my photos by uploading them to VSCO (the desktop uploader is a LIFESAVER, btw, if you don’t already use it: 10/10 recommend). I play around with the different edit styles, but generally the formula I use is:

  • +2.0 exposure
  • +1.0 contrast
  • +1.0 saturation
  • +3.0 tint
  • +12.0 HB2

Obviously, I adjust it more if there was something that was wonky, and I’ll play around with the white balance, highlights, shadows, and clarity if needed, but generally my formula works pretty well.


And that’s it! There’s how I shoot and edit my Instagram photos! I hope it was helpful and helped inspire you with your Instagram journey! Have you followed me on Instagram yet? Follow me here: @HanneasinHannah! Drop your handle and we can be Insta buddies!