I’ve been seeing blog reader surveys for YEARS and have always been intrigued by them. I’ve never done one because I generally like to write my own thing at my own pace, but I’d love to see some feedback so I know what you’re all enjoying and not enjoying. Yesterday, my blog friend Katie posted a survey and it definitely gave me the last push I needed to finally make one of my own. If you have a couple of minutes, I’d truly appreciate hearing your responses.
Before and after Caleb was born, he was the inspiration in all of my writing.
Weekly pregnancy bumpdates, the struggles of new motherhood, the highs, the lows, the filling up of love. I had so many words inside of me, needing to burst out. I became, unintentionally, a “mommy blogger.”
Mommy bloggers are wonderful, and sharing my insight about motherhood was exactly what I needed. It seemed both a gift to myself and to others; I could write down how I was feeling and feel less alone. I could capture the raw emotions of the early days so I’d never forget. In the same vein, other mothers would feel less alone when they read what I was going through. I made wonderful connections and true friends.
But the problem is, I don’t like being pinned down or pigeon holed. I used to be a book blogger, but I didn’t like having a niche. I like being free to write what I want, when I want. Just as I didn’t want to be JUST a book blogger, I didn’t want to be JUST a mommy blogger. I just want be a blogger, plain and simple. That’s all.
Eventually (like… last year), Caleb turned one and privacy concerns became a real thing. I knew from the start that my postings specific to Caleb would slow down after his first birthday — that was the rule I set for myself. Photos of my son, while still shared, would be cut back, and intimate details of his life would become more vague and less specific. I still love to talk about him and will continue to do so, but the older he gets, the more I want to respect his privacy.
All of these things led me into a state of panic nearly a year ago now.
What will I write about?
What can I talk about?
Motherhood has become my main source of inspiration, and Caleb my muse!
I thought for sure I’d have nothing left to blog about, nothing more to say. I thought my blogging days were over now that my self-imposed rules for my writings about Caleb were in effect.
Then I realized that there are lots of things to talk about when I’m not talking about motherhood. It dawned on me that motherhood is a part of me — and a HUGE part at that — but it isn’t the whole of me. This is the other big thing about motherhood that many new moms don’t realize, and something I’ve learned along the way — you still need to be YOU. You can’t throw all of you, your whole being, into motherhood.
I feel like some people may misconstrue my words to mean I don’t care or that I’m a lousy mom. On the contrary, I think I’m a better mom BECAUSE I’m my own person than I’d be if I weren’t.
Yes, I’m a mom. Yes, it’s the most important thing I am now. Yes, I love my child and would sacrifice any and every thing for him…
but I’m not JUST a mom.
Hi, I’m Steph, and I’m a mom. I’m also a librarian. I love learning. I thoroughly enjoyed college and am the proud owner of an MLS degree. Books are my passion in life, and so is writing. I’ve blogged since 2009 and have loved every minute of it. I have a husband, and he’s pretty cool. We love horror movies and good food. I’m sarcastic and funny. I’m an introvert – large crowds and parties make me preeeeeetty uncomfortable. I have a couple of close friends and I love my family – that’s really all I need. Chocolate is my weakness. So is cheese. Oh, and pasta too. Dogs make my heart pitter patter and I have a fur son named Dakota. Reality TV is the best kind of TV; I always get sucked in. I’m a proud homeowner with a love of budgeting. I have some OCD tendencies but you can call me quirky if you’d prefer. I’m a lover of all things primitive and rustic. I desperately want to own an old farmhouse, but in the meantime, I’ve decorated my house in that style as best I can with vintage, and primitives, and mason jars galore. Oh, and also a barn door wall. I’ve struggled with weight my entire life. I lost a ton before I had Caleb, then gained lots back, and now I’m trying to find a happy medium. I’m a lapsed runner and half-marathoner, always trying to get back to it. Right now, I’m really into clothes and dressing my body in a way that makes me like it a little more. I’m kind of complex and confusing and I find myself having lots of deep thoughts. I sit and think a hell of a lot more than I talk. I’d almost always rather be reading. And I have anxiety, though I don’t let it get in my way much.
And there you have it… a list of things I talk about when I don’t talk about motherhood. Because we’re all more complex than we think. Because we’re made up of a million parts that somehow make a whole. Because none of us are defined by any one thing, but rather, a ton of little things.
I’m a mother — a DAMN proud mother — but I’m a lot of other things too. I’m more than what I thought I was, and probably you are too.
Ah, 2016. It wasn’t much of a standout year at all, but it will forever be the year of two major things: my grandfather’s death and my big job promotion. Those are the two things I will always remember about the year – one terrible thing and one awesome thing. Here are the big moments and memories of our year.
- In January, Caleb turned one! There were many moments during the first year that I didn’t know how I could do it, but I did it. Surviving the first year was a major accomplishment.
- In September, I got a really big promotion at work. Not only was I promoted from PT to FT, but I was promoted from a Library Assistant to a Librarian I. I took on a lot more responsibility, moved buildings, and just felt really proud of myself. I learned that hard work and finding your voice really do pay off, even when it takes some time to happen (I finished my MLS degree in 2013 and waited over three years).
- Caleb began PT in January as a roly-poly baby who hardly moved, and wrapped it up in December as a thin, active toddler who runs and jumps and climbs. He also continued Music Together classes, and we even won a free semester to start in January!
- We added a second dog to the family by adopting our senior Bulldog, Bully, in September. Honestly, he is a lot more difficult than we anticipated, and quite obnoxious, but we do love the old dope, so on the good list this goes!
- In November, Jerry and I went on our first vacation since our honeymoon cruise in 2013. We went on another cruise with our grandparents and Caleb stayed with my parents.
- Erm, I got violently ill on said vacation so it wasn’t what we expected or had hoped for.
- All three of us had trips to the ER. What the flip?! I’ve NEVER been in the ER for anything, yet all three of us landed a trip this year. Caleb in June with massive dehydration and a bug, me in November during our vacation with unknown dizziness and vomiting, and Jerry in December with an infection. Yikes. At least we ended the year with all of us fairly healthy.
- In July, my grandfather, Papa, unexpectedly and suddenly passed away in his home. I don’t think words can adequately explain how it feels and how it felt. Losing Papa was the first big loss I have ever experienced and was pretty horrible. The sudden sharp pains of sadness, the guilt, the regret, the memories… you just never know how grief will affect you until you find yourself in it. My family really banded together and honestly, it was the closest we have ever felt and we all found comfort in that, at the very least. I will never NOT miss him.
- I did a fairly good job of maintaining a twice a week posting schedule, but it really dropped off at the end of the year because LIFE!
- I made a really big effort over the summer to “meet” some new bloggers, and have grown my little blogging friendship community a bit. Yay for new friends!
- I wrote a few book reviews for the first time in awhile with plans to do a few more in 2017.
- I’m not going to put as much pressure on myself this year to have a set schedule. In 2016, I shot for twice a week with one essay or creative piece and one more casual, daily life post like Five on Friday. I like this schedule a lot and will do my best to maintain it, but who knows. Some weeks I don’t have time, energy, or topics to write about.
- I had about 28.2 thousand page views in 2016. This has dropped by more than 10,000, but honestly, it’s to be expected because I haven’t been able to blog as much as I used to since I’m now a FT working mama! The numbers don’t matter much to me, and I mostly just check them out at the end of the year.
- I’ve learned that life throws us major curveballs and I’m starting to realize you can’t really plan everything out even though we’d like to. That said, I’m not really setting any big goals for the year because you just never know what to expect.
- I will say I’d like to read 50 books, continue to find my own sense of fashion (something I became interested in recently), put the phone down more often, and go with the flow more. Can I measure most of these things? No. I’m learning now that the only real “goals” I want to have are to be better than I was before because we can always improve. I can be a better mom, wife, librarian, blogger, writer, and so on… so I will just keep working on me.
- That said, I also think being better means accepting myself for who I am right now instead of wishing I was skinnier, less neurotic and anxious, etc. I will work on these things because I WANT to be a better me, but I also need to stop being so down on myself, and instead need to love me for just who I am in this moment while also striving to improve.
Wishing you all a wonderful 2017! I am eternally grateful for all the friendships I have found over my seven plus years of blogging. Lots of love to all my blog friends, both old and new. I look forward to sharing our lives and spreading the love in the coming year!
There are a lot of things that a lot of bloggers tend to be really great at and passionate about that I just plain suck at or don’t care about. While I certainly have my own passions and interests — reading, writing, dogs, primitives, and finances being a few — I just am NOT good at some of these things that seem to be really big amongst bloggers. In other words, you will likely never see me blogging about these topics aside from blogging to say how much I suck at them. Please note: this is just for fun because sometimes you have to poke fun at yourself a bit!
Going Out: I’ve always been an introvert and have always hated “going out” to bars, parties, etc. I’m like an old woman in a 20-something body, basically. I do like going out, but MY idea of going out is: going out to dinner, going out thrifting, going to one of my friend’s houses to play games, going out to the movies, going to book club, and other tame activities that generally don’t involve alcohol, partying, or late nights. After any of these activities, I then go home as early as possible so I can lie in bed and read or lounge on the couch and watch my reality TV. I can be a bit awkward and shy, so your typical idea of “going out” has never been my cup of tea and makes me feel wildly uncomfortable.
Fashion: While I wouldn’t say I dress hideously, I will say that I basically have two standard “uniforms:” yoga pants and a t-shirt on weekends and dress pants and a sweater on weekdays for work. I tend to go for neutral, solid colors that are generally pretty plain and I prefer my tops to be long. That’s about it, guys. I will say that in the spring, I did a major wardrobe overhaul where I filled two huge garbage bags of clothes to be donated. These were things that I didn’t wear any longer or didn’t find flattering. I tried to pare my wardrobe down to just items that make me feel good. It was a great start, but I still have some work to do. I think I’d like to be fashionable, but I don’t really know how? To my credit, I used to just buy stuff because it fit and now I’m trying to be more intentional in my choices and only buy things that flatter. Gotta start somewhere, right?
Cooking: I can’t really say I’m a BAD cook, because I wouldn’t really know… I’d just say that I’m not a cook in general. I COULD be a good cook but I haven’t really tried enough to say for sure. It’s just never been a real interest of mine. I am the queen of the crockpot though! This is something I definitely am working on, especially since Caleb will need some homecooked meals by Mom soon, and I am a decent baker so that’s a start!
DIY and Crafting: I’m just not a DIYer, much as I’d like to be. I would say my creative strength lies in writing, and certainly not in design. I get visions in my head for crafts and such and they just… never come out the way I’d envisioned. I am the definition of “Pinterest Fail.” I think part of my problem is that I get really impatient with crafts and then try to rush to finish, thus ruining whatever I was working on. Now I DID recently refinish a small wooden table with chalk paint and sandpaper distressing. I’m just waiting to do the last step which is waxing it. This project actually came out good so I’ll share pictures of the finished product soon. I love primitive furniture and decor so I’d LIKE to be more crafty… let’s call this one a work in progress.
Hair and Makeup: I just have never cared. I guess this one kind of goes along with the fashion thing. My hair has always been fine, thin, and stick straight. I get it cut about one to two times a year and wear it down every day. I shower each day then blowdry it. That’s it. Occasionally, I straighten it because I get some ugly, unflattering little kinks / waves otherwise. As for makeup, this is what I wear: eyeliner and eyeshadow… oh, and chapstick. Does that count? That’s IT. I don’t wear any facial products, mascara, or anything else. My morning routine takes no time which is good because I’m always in a rush. I don’t know, I’ve just never been a real girly girl and these are not my strengths.
Sports: While I do suck at PLAYING sports, I’m mostly referring to the lack of interest here. It seems like everyone is super into football but me. I just don’t get it and don’t understand how it works, even though I cheered with my cousins for a football team for a number of years when we were kids. Guess I just never paid attention, because I hated the cheering part too (introverts for the win!). I like the IDEA of football and honestly wish I liked it, but I just… don’t. I will say that it reminds me of fall and I like all of the football and cheering sounds that are sometimes playing in the background when my husband is watching. It’s that quintessential fall sound, ya know? Hubby and I have been hosting a small Super Bowl gathering at our house for immediate family the past couple of years though, so that’s something! I AM into football food, so yay?
Well, that’s what I’ve got as for things I suck at / have no interest in that seems to be the opposite of a lot of bloggers! What about you?! Share, share, share! Tell me I’m not the only one!
Sometimes I stop and think about what I’m doing here and why exactly I’m doing it.
Why do I choose to share my life on the internet, where anyone can see it?
The older my son gets, the more I wonder what is right to share about him and his life. I question how many photos I should share, and how many moments and stories about him should just be kept private instead. I’m an adult and I’ve made a conscious decision to share my story here, but my son certainly isn’t old enough to have made any kind of decision at all. Will he one day be mad that I shared so many pictures? Will he one day resent me for sharing embarrassing stories?
Some days, I want to share pictures upon pictures of him on here, sharing all the minute details of his life so that I can always remember. Other days, I want to withhold all of it in respect of his privacy.
When he was a newborn, there were an abundance of pictures and stories of him here, but shortly after his first birthday, I cut way back. It was around that time that he became less of a baby and more of his own person — developing personality traits and characteristics that were all his own. While I still share occasional photos and anecdotes, the more personal stories have become more private.
I often feel torn about what to do. I’ve developed many wonderful friendships over the years in the blogging community. I’ve been blogging since 2009 and have developed some real, honest-to-goodness relationships in that time. I love exchanging stories with other women online, connecting and following along in their lives. I don’t want to disconnect or pull back. I want to share my life and Caleb is a huge part of that… but at what point am I crossing the line? At what point am I exploiting his privacy?
I keep blogging and chugging along here even when I feel overextended, short on time, or stressed simply because of this amazing community. I am an introvert to my core. In person, I have a couple of close friends and family members who I spend time with, but often find it hard meeting new friends and opening up. Blogging is an amazing outlet and I treasure and value the friends I have made along the way. I love that feeling of connection and community, and consider several of my “blogging” friends to be good friends these days. I don’t ever want to give that up. I guess that’s why I do what I do. I guess that’s why I’m vulnerable and raw here, why I share stories, triumphs, and difficulties… why I choose not to sugarcoat things and why I essentially share it all.
When I struggled immensely after the birth of Caleb, this was where I came to sort out my feelings, where I discovered I wasn’t alone, where I realized other mothers felt the same way as I did. Writing was how I worked out what I was feeling. Writing — and the connections here — were some of the things that helped get me through. I love this community of women who love to share and write and I love being a part of it. But then I get the occasional rude anonymous comment and realize that there are other people out there too, that anyone could be reading what I’m writing. Am I entirely comfortable with that?
For now, I’ll continue to share MY life, and occasional snippets of Caleb’s too. I don’t plan on quitting anytime soon, but sometimes I just feel the need to evaluate what exactly I want to share and what exactly I want to hold back on when it comes to my son. I pretty much lay it all out on the line when it comes to my own personal story and I LOVE that. I love how many people have emailed me to say they appreciate me sharing my experiences or that they can relate to what I’ve gone through. I love being open and honest here. I love sharing my real life and all that comes with it just as much as I love following along with other people’s lives too and building those connections which have come to mean a lot to me. I guess that lately I’ve just been struggling with how to go about sharing my son’s life too.
Anyone have any insight of their own? How do you decide what to share and what not to share? Do you think there is any real privacy anymore in this day and age?
Six years ago today, Steph The Bookworm was born! I was sitting in my parent’s living room, a sophomore in college, when I wrote my very first book review. My writing’s gotten a bit better since then (thank God!).
So much has changed over these last six years, both in my life and on the blog. It’s naturally evolved right alongside me. My blog is a part of me, an extension of me, and was very much my first baby. I had no idea on that day six years ago where my blog or I would be… and here we are. I’m glad we’re still here.
My blog has been around, a constant in my life, for all of my biggest changes. It sounds silly, but it’s always been a place for me to sound off, to be completely open, to be vulnerable, honest, and ME. Through break ups, through falling in love, through getting engaged, getting married, graduating, becoming a homeowner, becoming a mother, losing over 100 pounds, and finding myself… my blog, and more importantly, my blog FRIENDS, have been there.
It all started with an idea and a love for books. I didn’t know there was this huge book blogging community out there, but there it was and it was such a delight to discover and befriend all of these kindred spirits.
I’ve gained a lot from blogging. From freelance writing gigs, to hundreds of books, to confidence, to relationships with authors and publishers… the list could go on and on. All of these opportunities and things have been afforded to me simply because I love to read and write and I wanted to blog about it. I am endlessly grateful.
To be honest though, none of those things could ever compare to the one thing I count as my biggest gain of all: the friendships. Over the years, I have formed countless friendships with other people in the blogging community. This is the best part of blogging by about a million.
See, I remember the day I got my first ever blog comment from a stranger. I was elated. I thought I had made it. I lived off of that one comment for weeks and weeks. Then I started to branch out and I discovered a whole world of people out there, writing their own blogs, sharing their own favorite books, sharing their lives. I found a place to fit in and people to call my friends. It’s like I belonged in this place I never even knew existed before and I’ve felt at home ever since.
My blog has seen so many design changes, so many different layouts, so much evolution and I’ve been proud of all of it. While I am no longer a “book blogger,” I cherish all my book blogging friends, some of whom I’ve had for years. I think I’ve found my place even more so now as a lifestyle blogger and I’m so happy to have met even more wonderful friends as my blog has changed. So many people have encouraged me, supported me, and cheered me on as I’ve opened up about my struggles with weight, adjustments to motherhood, and so much more. I’ve always felt like I could be vulnerable and genuine in this space; it’s been a place for me to be painstakingly honest and get real and I’ve always had the love and support from the amazing people I’ve met along the way.
Thank you to my friends: the friends I met way back when I gushed about my books, and the friends I’ve made as I’ve struggled and triumphed and fumbled along in life. I’ve pretty much grown up in plain view on this blog and many of you have seen me do so. Thank you, thank you, thank you for being a part of my life. I’ve made a handful of really good friends through blogging, people I consider real, honest-to-goodness friends, and I am so grateful to have you all in my life. You are not just “blog friends,” you are real friends: people I am proud to know, people whose lives I am invested in and interested in, people who I care about and hope to have in my life for a long time to come.
Cheers to another six years, my friends! Thanks for being here.
It’s been awhile since I’ve done a Five on Friday post, so here we are! Happy Friday!
ONE. Even though it is SO freaking cold out, there is some consolation in that it’s hot chocolate season. I’ve been devouring the stuff like crazy and am becoming a total hot chocolate snob this year. I used to drink it with water (either a K-cup or just the cheap $2.00 boxes of Nestle or Swiss Miss pouches), but now I am all about using milk. It’s so much creamier and yummier… how did I used to drink it with water?! I was also spoiled by my friend Beth who sent me some homemade kind with mini chocolate chips… mmm. It’s almost gone, then I don’t know what I’ll use! I am not a coffee drinker though, so hot chocolate is my go to hot beverage of choice. Any recommendations?
TWO. I’ve recently rediscovered my love of Paperbackswap after a hiatus of oh… maybe three or four years? Ha! I totally forgot about it. When I finish reading one of of my own books, I usually pass it on to my mom or the library, but recently I’ve been listing a few on there again and I forgot how much fun it was! It’s kind of annoying having to pack up the books and go to the post office, but I like getting credits and swapping for other books. Here are some of the ones I’ve gotten from there recently:
THREE. As some of you know, Jerry works evening shifts while I work days, so we don’t get to have dinner together often, except for weekends. Since he works at a college, he had quite a long holiday break and it was fantastic. Not only did we get to spend a lot of quality time together before baby’s arrival, we also got to cook together a lot. I found a bunch of recipes on Pinterest we’d been meaning to try, as well as some old favorites, and I meal planned all fancy-like. My favorite new recipe we tried was this French Onion Chicken Noodle Casserole. Mmmm… it tasted like alfredo and I highly recommend it. We also tried a Dorito casserole, which we were sadly not fans of, and made a couple of our regular Crockpot favorites (beef stroganoff and chicken and dumplings). I am a HUGE fan of the Crockpot. Let me know if you have favorite recipes for it that I need to try… the easier the better!
FOUR. I’ve mentioned it before, but when I transitioned my blog from a book blog to a personal/lifestyle blog last year, I had to think long and hard about my blog design. I decided that as much as I love it, I needed to eliminate the bookish feel since I’m no longer really a book blogger. Jerry decided to work some overtime and save up the money to pay for my re-design for my Christmas gift and we finally saved up enough! Jessica over at Cobblestone Marketing will be doing my new design and will be starting it next week! The bill is paid and I have sent her all my ideas and I simply CANNOT wait to see what she comes up with. She’s the one who designed my current one and transferred me over from Blogger to self-hosted three years ago now, so I know whatever she comes up with will be just as amazing. I’m excited to work with her again. As always, I am on the hunt for other personal/lifestyle blogs to follow since I recently made the transition, so leave me some good suggestions, including your own if we aren’t blog buddies yet! 🙂
FIVE. Well, we are now at the “impatiently waiting” stage of pregnancy where we just want to meet our little bambino but are trying to enjoy things in the meantime before life changes forever (in the best way possible). Two of my best girlfriends came over last weekend. Jerry was home early from work so we went and got frozen yogurt then played a fierce game of Apples to Apples. My friends and I get seriously vicious over games. It was a fun night, and probably one of the last ones I’ll have with my friends before becoming a mommy. I know life changes in a million ways when you have a baby, but I truly do have some of the best friends in the world and I know they’ll stick around. That doesn’t prevent me from being a bit nervous about how much life will change, but more than anything, we all just can’t wait to meet him!
(^^ image made on Phonto. Quote attributed to Rumi)
This entire year I’ve been going through a major blogger identity crisis, as some of you may know.
I hit my five year blogging anniversary this past September. Five YEARS! And for over four of those years, I was exclusively a book blogger. I absolutely loved it and I met some amazing reader and author friends along the way. I had so many wonderful opportunities, number one being a trip to BEA in 2011, and of course, hundreds and hundreds of books in the mail for review, including many ARCs (copies of books before their release dates). When I first started, I was always so eager to write reviews that I distinctly remember sitting on my parent’s couch, writing reviews the instant I finished a book. But after four plus years, I began to get book blogger burnout. In January 2014, I declared that I would be both a book blogger and a personal blogger, doing about half and half on this blog. But now? Now I’d really consider myself a personal / lifestyle blogger with a side of books thrown in on occasion… definitely not half and half.
I still do love to read and I will always be a bookworm. I will never stop reading or obsessing about books. In fact, I will still be talking about books and reviewing them on occasion here. Why? Because this blog is just about my life in general now, and books are still a huge part of my life, always will be. I just got so burned out though, and when I felt pressure to review every single book and meet specific goals and deadlines, it started to take away some of the pleasure I have always found in reading. I decided to take back control of my reading life, and here we are. No more pressure. I still find myself wanting to review books so I can remember them, but now it’s on my own terms, when I want to do it, how I want to write them, and how many I choose to write.
I guess the other big thing that led me to becoming more of a personal blogger is just that I’ve had so many big milestones in my life over the past couple of years including: losing over 100 pounds, running races including a half-marathon, meeting Jerry, planning a wedding, getting married, buying a house, working on home improvement projects, and oh yeah… A BABY! These are all things that I wanted and still want to document and remember. I also just plain old love to write and no longer pigeon holing myself as a book blogger gives me the opportunity and freedom to just write what I want.
So after asking for some advice about my identity crisis a few weeks ago, I’ve settled on a few things. I will keep my name. I’ve been known as Steph The Bookworm online for more than five years and it’s a part of my identity now. Not to mention, I am still a bookworm and that will never change. However, as much as I love my design, that is also getting re-done and I am adding a new tagline that took me way too long to come up with (“musings on marriage, motherhood, and my life between books”). I am getting the woman who designed my current design to do the new one for me so I already know I will love it since she did such an amazing job the first time around. We’ve already been in touch, and Jerry is currently working some OT and saving up some funds to get me this for Christmas (self-hosted WordPress can get expensive). Isn’t he the sweetest man?
Anyway, I just feel that when people come to my blog, they will automatically assume “book blogger” based on the design, and I don’t want to push away potential readers. I have found myself reading and enjoying more and more personal blogs of other newlyweds, homeowners, other young women, and/or mothers, and I would love to gain some new friends and readers here. The new design should hopefully help with that. I am also currently working on adding new, personal pages to the top of the blog, and I reorganized my blog categories. As you can see up top, so far I’ve added “our love story,” and am currently working on pages about my weight loss and the baby. With all of these changes, I certainly hope all of my longtime blog friends will stick around. I still love my amazing book blogging and author friends, and will continue to do so, but new friends are wonderful too! At any rate, I’ve already been on this new blogging path for almost a year now so it’s time to make it official and get the new design, tagline, etc.
Now I have found my blogging passion again. I am always coming up with new ideas to blog about, writing notes feverishly on my phone late at night when inspiration strikes. I am finding myself constantly tweaking, working on, and improving my blog, just like I used to in the old days. I am constantly seeking out and reading other blogs, and am excited to make new blog friends any chance I can. I had totally lost my drive and fire for blogging for a little while there, but I still kept trudging along out of obligation. Now, I do it out of passion again and I am loving it. I love sharing my life, even if no one else finds it interesting. 😉
So, I guess that’s it! You will still see reviews and other bookish things on here occasionally, but you’ll also see all the other things in my life, as you have been for the past 10 months or so. This is now officially a general blog about my life and I sincrely hope you’ll stick around.
This is my first time doing this Five on Friday link-up so hello and HAPPY HALLOWEEN! I heard from my neighbors that we don’t get many trick or treaters on our street, so I was bummed but have made other plans instead. I am working until 5:00 then going to dinner with the family. After, a couple of girlfriends may be coming over to watch some scary movies since Jerry has to work. Here are five things on my mind this week.
ONE. I had a woman come in to my work the other day and ask me where she could pick up her emails. Oh. Um. Ya know… on the INTERNET? Sometimes, people just amaze me. That was definitely my laugh for the week.
TWO. Here is my big old Caleb belly from earlier in the week. My belly has definitely popped lately. Everyone at work has been saying I finally look pregnant. I think I’ve had a big belly for awhile now, but I wear maternity clothes at work which typically covers it up pretty well. Anyway, they were not convinced. Here is the Caleb bump. It seriously looks huge in this dress in particular… not sure why. It looks much smaller in other clothes!
THREE. Over the weekend while we were doing some laundry, we had some major basement flooding. Turned out to be a drain pipe backing up and we couldn’t shower, flush the toilet, wash dishes, etc. My dad came over and he and Jerry spent a long while trying to fix it, using Draino and snaking, but no luck. We resigned to having to pay a plumber some big bucks out of our maternity leave savings but when I asked for a plumber recommendation on Facebook, my friend told me to call the town’s Department of Public Works. Her husband works there and she said they typically look at these issues for free. Now, I work for the town and had no idea about this but I called them anyway, even though I was skeptical. Long story short, they were at the house within 15 minutes and had it fixed for FREE in another 10. It was something about the drain leading to the street… I don’t really know, but I was so relieved, I almost cried.
FOUR. Jerry and I are going out to dinner tomorrow night at our absolute favorite Italian restaurant where we haven’t been in AGES! We’re going to order our favorites and have been looking forward to going out all week. We used to eat there all the time, but after buying the house, we had to rework our budget and dining out was one of the first things to go. We decided to splurge a little bit since we DIDN’T have to pay a plumber and we want to enjoy some more date nights together before baby arrives!
FIVE. Some of you know, I’ve had a bit of a blogger identity crisis. I’m no longer identifying myself as a book blogger, and have become more of a personal blogger over the last year which I’m loving. I have rediscovered my blogging passion after having been at this for over five years. I blog about everything in my life (including books, but only on occasion now), so I’ve been working a bit on revamping the blog. I’ve started adding new pages up top that aren’t all bookish (with a few more to come that I’m working on… “Baby C” and “Weight Loss and Running”), and I reorganized my blog categories. I love my current design, but it pins me down as a book blogger, so I’m planning on getting a re-design done by my same designer. Jerry is going to work some OT and save up to pay for it for me for Christmas… isn’t he sweet?! But in the meantime, I’m excited about the little changes I’ve started to make around here. So far, I’ve condensed all my bookish pages down to one tab with sub-pages including a new page (“Why (and What) I Read“), and made a new page of “Our Love Story.”
You guys… I am in the midst of a huge blogger identity crisis. I’m asking for some feedback and advice below.
When I started this blog over five years ago (!!!), it was solely a book blog, and it remained that way for over four years. Then this past January, I was feeling slightly burnt out on the reviewing front so I made some big changes to the blog. While I still enjoy reviewing books, my life is nothing like it was when I started this blog. Back in 2009, I was a college student living at home with my parents, working part time. I spent almost all of my free time reading because at that point, I hadn’t gotten into fitness yet or anything. But life has changed drastically for me. Now I’m married, I have a career, I own a home, and I have a baby on the way. Prior to this pregnancy, I spent a lot of time working out and running as well, which I plan on picking back up again after the birth. All this said, I don’t have quite as much time to read and review as I used to. I also have a lot of other huge things going on in my life that I feel like writing about and documenting. Also, I just plain old love to write, and book reviewing doesn’t let me get as creative as I like to be.
Don’t misunderstand me though; books are still and always will be my biggest passion and hobby. I still spend as much time as possible reading, but my numbers are way down from when I was a college kid with basically no responsibility. I also still enjoy reviewing books because I love to go back and remember my feelings about certain books years down the line.
That said, I do still like to post book reviews and other bookish things on this blog from time to time when I can, BUT this blog has morphed, changed, and grown a lot with me. I plan on always posting book reviews, but I only get around to maybe two or three a month these days. I post more personal things now, and this blog has kind of grown and evolved to be a general lifestyle/personal blog for me. It has included and will continue to include posts on: marriage, pregnancy, motherhood, home ownership, fitness and weight loss, general life updates, AND books. It’s kind of gotten to be a lifestyle blog about all the things in my life, which still include books, but also include a lot of other things too. I feel more free now with what I can write, and less backed into a corner as I am officially declaring myself as no longer a book blogger but just a blogger who writes about any and everything.
So since my blog has changed and morphed, I’ve been wondering about my blog name and design: Steph The Bookworm. I am and always have been a bookworm, so I don’t think this is inaccurate, but does it pigeonhole my blog too much? Does it give off a vibe that this blog is solely a book blog? Does the bookish design imply that too? I love my blog design, and I’ve been known as Steph The Bookworm online for over five years. It’s kind of become my identity so I don’t necessarily want to change it. Not to mention, this blog design cost me a pretty penny. I have no idea what I would even call my blog if I decided to go that route and rebrand but maybe I need to. I really don’t know what to do.
So I have some questions for you, my readers:
- Do you think I should change my blog name?
- Do you think I should change my blog design?
- Do you like the way my blog has evolved, or do you miss it being about all books?
- Do you prefer the personal / life posts, or the book posts?
- Do you think blogs need to be “niche” blogs or are general blogs okay?
Ultimately, I’m going to keep on doing what I’m doing with the variety of posts, but I feel weird not having a “niche” blog and I worry about my name and design. I like having the creative freedom I’ve given myself since stepping away from the book blogosphere a bit. Sometimes I miss being exclusively a book blogger, and I feel like I don’t really fit in with that community anymore since my blog has veered into other directions, but at the same time, I’ve grown and changed, and my blog has needed to do some of that as well. One thing I plan on doing is adding some more pages to the top to include things like “Our Love Story,” “Caleb” and “Fitness.” So maybe if I keep the name and design but expand on some of my tabs, that could help? Maybe not? Maybe keep the name but update the layout and tagline? I’m so confused. I’d love to have some of your input!
Also, I’m always looking for new personal blogs to read. There are a handful of blogs that I have found and love, but if you have any favorites, please let me know since I’m newer to the whole personal blog thing!