Thursday, January 5, 2017

2016: A look back and what's coming up in 2017

Hey all,

Well, it's that time of year again. You know, the one where I come back from an unexpected and unplanned hiatus. The one I went on with no notice whatsoever. I tend to have this problem every single year where I can't seem to schedule my life to fit it all in. 

So, for 2017 I have one single goal: To get my shit together. But first, let's recap on what I've been up to for the past six months or so and why I let my blog fall to the wayside. 


The recap



For those who need a refresher on my life, because even though I know most of you remember everything I've ever written about myself you just can't remember it all, I came to the QC, located in the Midwest, about four years ago. I was pretty fresh out of college and found a great job that I decided to take. 

One of the scariest things in life is moving to a new place where you don't know a single person. It's especially scary if you're a quiet bookworm who finds it hard to be the one who starts a conversation. I soon found out that while my job itself was great, I had a hard time relating to most of my coworkers. Half of them were middle-aged, married, with kids (while I was over here being 24, single, with two cats.) The half that were my age had all grown up around here and had their own group of friends they'd grown up with. 

So, I spent a lot of time reading and starting this blog. Then, I realized something that most college graduates realize eventually: Student loans are a bitch. I really didn't want to be in debt for the rest of my life, and it was getting hard to feed my book addiction. Something most of you know a little something about. 


I did what anyone who's tired of not having money to do anything would do. I got a second job as a server in a restaurant. In the beginning I was working about five nights a week on top of my full time day job. As you can probably guess, I did little more than sleep and work. That was the first time Book Nerd Paradise went dark. 

While it was a hard time in my life, I'm proud to say that I've managed to pay off four student loans, my credit card and I'm well on my way to getting my car loan paid off by this summer.

But I find that no matter what I do, the urge to write has always needled me into coming back. I switched to a different restaurant and cut my hours down to two to three nights a week and Book Nerd Paradise was back. During that time I'd actually managed to make some pretty good friends. It took a while but I eventually found my band of fellow misfits. 

At this point, it's the spring of 2016 and I had been managing to juggle my job, friends and this blog for a good while now. Then, I decided to do something I'd been missing for a long time. I joined a co-ed softball league. Well, that's where I started to go wrong the second time. One softball league turned into two, which turned into a volleyball league as well. Eventually, by the time fall rolled around I was playing in four softball leagues and two volleyball leagues... while also working full time and part time two nights a week... while also finding time to take my pup to the park during the hours in between. And I loved every minute of it. 

As you probably guessed, something had to give. That something was this blog. I had no time to read and therefore nothing to post anyway.


Then things got even more hectic


Since I've been able to pay off a lot of my debt in the past few years I decided to make a really big investment. I decided to buy a house. 

Let me tell you, searching for a house was more tedious then I ever thought it could be. I looked at house, after house, after house. About three dozen over the course of two months. All the while I was growing more and more depressed at my options. I'm pretty sure the basement at one house was used on the set of "Texas Chainsaw Massacre." But finally, after all that searching, I finally found the one. It was perfect. It even has a giant fenced-in yard for my dog to run around in and make friends with the neighbor dogs. 

I closed on the house and move in over Thanksgiving week. Things have finally slowed down for me. I'm still working both jobs and I'm only playing on two volleyball leagues this winter but now I have some free time to get back to what I love... reading. 


What's coming up in 2017


To tell you the truth, I don't know what 2017 holds for me. I'm hoping to be able to be more consistent with the blog. Sometimes I might just post a life update when I haven't had the chance to read anything. I'm definitely going to be changing the design and layout of Book Nerd Paradise. It's gotten a little stale for me. 

What I want to know from you guys is what do you all want to see other than reviews? (I can only read so much in a given time.) What makes you come back to someone's blog again and again? I love the giveaway hops and discussion posts, so I'm going to have plenty of those. And I'm determined to give that TBR list a good 'ol 1-2 punch. I still consider myself a new blogger so any insight is welcome. 

I'd also love to know what everyone else has been up to and if you've got anything coming up for 2017. 

Until next time y'all. Happy reading. 
- Ashley @ Book Nerd Paradise. 
My latest project with recycled books because I also like to make things.