The Blog Connect: Define Your Habits

This is my last post on the blog connect and what I learned. I already told you about nicheless blogging and burnouts that are real, this one hits a little differently than those.

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Photo by: Tim Becker Photography

Habits. It’s not just about blogging but in retrospect anything. Habits are your goals that you think will be easy to maintain on a regular basis. It could take months to get a habit down that feels right for you, there might be some that work and some that don’t. You might start one and change your mind and that’s okay. You evolve everyday and so will your habits.

This presentation was done by Sarah, of Yes and Yes blog. I honestly had never heard of this blogger before but after her presentation I started following her because of her amazing insight.

Anyway, I decided to come up with mine own habits/goals and see if in a few months they lasted:

  • Read everyday for a half hr
  • Blog once a week (with no distraction except music)
  • Cook every Monday (I know, I hate cooking, so I’m starting out small)
  • Workout every other day (even if this is just walking)
  • Use part of Sunday to meal prep (this is big, I need this in my life)
  • Schedule time once a week to seriously go through the blogs I follow (I can sometimes be horrible at this)
  • Touch base with my friends 😊

I’m going to ease into this, not do all at once and see what happens. I don’t know which I’m going to start with first but I’m leaning toward reading a bit everyday and meal prepping on Sundays….wish me luck!

Do you guys have “habits”? If do, what are they? Do they work for you to the point where they don’t feel like a chore anymore?

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The History of Saratoga, New York

Happy Independence America! I’ve already watched some Fireworks to get in the spirit of our Independence, which occurred on July 4th, 1776, when the colonies wrote the Declaration of Independence. But did you know that my hometown, Saratoga Springs, New York has a lot to do with America winning it’s Independence?

In the past, I’ve written some detail about Saratoga National Historic Park, but I wanted to write another post on here of the history and the park in itself now that it’s Spring and you can really see what it has to offer.

While the Declaration of Independence was written in 1776, the war for freedom was just beginning. In fact, in September of 1777 through October of 177720180609_113958 the Battle of Saratoga began and is now known to many history buffs as the “Turning Point of The Revolutionary War”. It was in October of 1777 when British troops surrendered to American troops, a battle that would change the tide of the Revolutionary War in favor of the American colonists. This battle was significant because other countries, like France saw what happened and joined the war to fight for the freedom of America.

I love the history of Saratoga for this specifically, there is so much you can see and understand in just a few hours. To think that you can walk on land that was once walked on by the very people who gave this country it’s freedom always blows my mind.

When visiting the National Historic Park, you can experience it in many different ways in the Spring and Summer. You can walk the trail or bike it (roughly 9 miles), you can drive through it, or even take a horse (if you have one). There are reenactments done at different points in the year, as well as guides and maps that can explain everything to you. We went for a bike ride (it’s a hilly 9+miles if you do this) and stopped at each section of the trail to see views of the battlefield and read the markings left to explain the significance of each site.

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It’s a great location to learn some history, get some exercise or even go to read and have a picnic. I’m hoping to have a lovely picnic there before the year ends — it’s on my summer bucket list. Once you’re done here, you can head to the Saratoga Monument and Victory Woods where you can learn more about the battlefield. Before walking through Victory Woods, you’ll pass through a cemetery filled with headstones from the 1700 and 1800’s, there could literally be Revolutionary and Civil War heroes buried in this cemetery. It’s an eerie feeling but one that helps you appreciate the magnitude of their sacrifice.

So, again, Happy Independence Day America! I’m so lucky to live in an area that had such a significant impact on our freedom.

Book Review: Sarah’s Key

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Author: Tatiana de Rosney

Pages: 294

Synopsis: Sarah’s Key follows two very different story lines. We start by following Sarah, a young 10-year old living in Paris, France during WWII with her parents and her little brother. In July of 1942, her along with her parents (she locked her brother in a cupboard for safety) and all other Jewish members of Paris are arrested by French police in what is known as the Vel’ d’Hiv’ roundup.

Move forward to 2005, where Julia, a 45 year old journalist is tasked with writing a story about the Vel’ d’Hiv’ and what happened near the anniversary of the roundup. Through her research, Julia learns about Sarah’s story and the connection it has with her French family. A story that will change Julia’s life and her family’s life forever.

Review: If you follow my blog, you know I read a lot about WWI and WWII. In fact, this is the 7th book this year alone that follows different stories as it relates to WWII. I’ve read about Italy, Russia, Poland, Germany and now France. Each with a totally different perspective on the war, but all with the same outcome — pain.

I read a lot on WWII because it’s always about an event that I didn’t read about in school and I feel like I can’t fully grasp everything that happened without reading these stories. This is a significant plot in Sarah’s Key. People have forgotten or they just don’t know about events that took place in France. That story line never leaves this book, it follows to the very end and becomes an important reminder to never forget.

This story reminded me a lot Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah and Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum in the sense that we follow two different stor ylines and see them diverge together. If you’ve read them and enjoyed them, I bet this would be another one you would enjoy. But that’s where the similarities end.

De Rosney finds a way to break your heart in more pieces than you thought imaginable. I have read a lot of stories on WWII, I thought I’ve read it all (how very wrong was I). This story doesn’t falter in it’s detail of the Vel’ d’Hiv’ roundup and the events that followed, it shows the inhumanity and the goodness all on one page. It speaks of the heroes and survivors. It reminds us that even after the War, the people who lived throughout it will never be the same, and for some it’s easier to forget than remember what happened. What was so interesting in this story was the beginning about Sarah, for most of her chapters you were never told her name (obviously we knew by the title), she was just known as “the girl”, which for many of Jewish descent was how they were viewed during WWII. For some reason this resonated more to me than anything else. It was a sad reminder of what people had to endure.

For more information on the Vel’ d’Hiv’ roundup, you can go to the link: https://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10008213

Then you have Julia, who is determined to not let the past be forgotten. Who, once she knows the story of the roundup and the French police involvement, she can’t stop thinking about the children and adults who perished. This is no longer a story for a journalist but a story for Julia and Julia alone, a story she must find the ending to, without she feels hollow. She is determined to find a way to let people who are still suffering from the aftereffects that there are people in this world that have not forgotten, who won’t forget. Her determination is one that is admirable. She doesn’t see these events as just that, she sees it for what it was.

My only critique of this story was all the involvement of Julia’s family. I actually enjoyed the family mystery and how it connected back to Sarah, it was interesting, it was a mystery and there were twists and turns I didn’t see coming. What I didn’t like was what I felt as an unnecessary story line (I’m sure others disagree). I won’t spoil what I mean by this, it also didn’t ruin the story for me, I could have just lived without it. In fact, I’m happy I read it, I’m happy I now know yet another tragedy from the War that I did not know before, because we should never forget.

Have you read Sarah’s Key? Or any of the other stories listed above? If so, comment below!

Overall Rating: 4/5 stars

The Blog Connect: Burnout Happens

One of my favorite topics of discussion at the Blog Connect was about blog burnout. You guys it happens to all of us and that’s okay.

I get Burnout all the time, whether it be from reading or blogging. Sometimes it feels 20171213_115133.jpgmore like a job than a hobby and it can be the worst. Especially because I love doing both. I always felt like a failure when it happens, and when I feel like I’m forcing myself to write which never gives you great content.

Anyway, this was a topic of discussion at the blog connect, both as a presentation and not. It was great to hear others who feel the same way as you. It gave me more confidence to be like, okay, I’m going to take a week off and refresh myself.

So, here’s my advice to avoid Burnout.

  1. Blog when you feel like it. There is always that moment when inspiration hits you, and in that moment I find myself writing my best content.
  2. When you are writing, try to do it without distraction, I’ve learned the less distraction the better
  3. It’s okay to take some time off — however long you need
    1. and you don’t need to feel like you have a blog post all the time
  4. I’ve come to the conclusion that if I can bang out three drafts in a week, I’m on schedule and sometimes even that doesn’t happen but I’m okay with it.
  5. It’s okay, and you know what? We all have these issues — but the blogging community is so great! You will always have support no matter what

This is my advice. Don’t ever feel like this has to be a job that you don’t want to do. Find the inspiration and the love in your blog and if that means taking a few days, a week, a month off or more it’s okay. We’ll still be here! You do you.